Monday, September 28, 2009


The kids have been asking to go to the balloonfest since last year when we went, so we made it a priority to catch it again this year. Here are some pictures from GLO in the evening night, when they light up the balloons simultaneously. It's so pretty and we got to see one of them set up right in front of us. They are so huge! It took over a dozen people to keep it on the ground as they put bursts of flame in it to light it up and keep it from leaning over as it deflated. As pretty as the balloons were, can you believe the sunset? And we get that every night! In fact, if I had the energy in the morning, I could even see the sunrises! So amazing, painted above us each day, if we but take the time to look.

We enjoyed fingerpainting, swimming and popcorn in our backyard today with friends. Then Ivan and I practiced some of his writing and played a board game while the girls napped. I just finished a coffee and am tired at 7:30pm. So where oh where does my nearly 5 year old get all his energy? He doesn't make the age cut here to be in kindergarten, and as much as I love to see him all day (most of the time), it would be so much easier to send him off for someone else to deal with! ha,ha,ha He is sweet. The puppets got in a fight over him today while we did "school" and he had to break them up. Yeah, we all love him a bunch.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

busy fun saturday

It's time for me to load videos. These ones are a few weeks old and a lot can happen in a few weeks in the life of kids! Some more pictures from the visit with grandpa Ray and Grandma Sue. They took us to our favorite restaurant- Schewan. Sue's daughter also came to Abilene to visit some and became an instant favorite with Emora, who doesn't take to strangers easily. She must have known that Becky is family too.

Today has been fun. Ivan did much better at soccer today. He was not quite as shy and intimidated. He kicked the ball a couple of times (once in the wrong direction, but at least it didn't make it into our goal). I did find out that this is one of the stars on our team's third time to be in soccer already. Did I mention these are 4 year olds? So maybe that explains some of his ability and experience. As we were driving over, we were reminding Ivan to take risks, run, kick and go for it. After I'd given my two cents and Brian gave his, Dominique launched in too, telling him how to play soccer. Once again I realized how it is not so fair on the first child. He has to figure out everything on his own. He had no prior knowledge of soccer or any team sport, but Dominique, thanks to him already has the general idea of getting it in our goal and stopping the other team from scoring. Did I also mention that I was a first child? So I feel for him.

The balloon festival is this weekend, so after soccer the kids got to go jump on jumpy castles, ride in a train ride and Dominique rode a horse for an outrageous amount of tickets. It was so hot that Brian and I were looking for a way to finish up with their tickets in a hurry. Ivan had already said he didn't want to try the horse, but after he saw how much fun Dominique had, he wanted to! By then we were more than ready to leave however and out of tickets, plus there is more fun to be had, so he threw fits all the way to our van and finally decided to behave when we told him his going to the library activities and balloon festival tonight was in jeopardy. Tonight, they take off, come back and light up at night. It's really pretty and the kids have talked about it all year.

Emora laughing at siblings playing ball

Ivan's friend song

Thursday, September 24, 2009

like a whirlwind

Visits always go so fast. They seem like a whirlwind. Grandpa Ray and Grandma Sue left yesterday, then our neighbor came over with her son while her house had a gas leak. So, today I've been trying to get the house back in some order. It is nearly at a liveable standard.
I still need to upload my pictures. Most of these are from the grand's camera and I noticed that Sue must have taken the majority of them since she isn't in them. Ivan and Dominique were asking all of last night and this morning if the grands were coming back. They had so much fun and are enjoying the memories thanks to the digital age and some gifts left behind!
Emora gave them quite the show while they were here. She learned to clap, started to babble recognizable syllables, started toward crawling and has the first signs of a tooth popping through (her bottom left front tooth).
Yesterday, I set her down in the hallway with toys and books while I swept the kitchen floor. She kept grunting and wining for me. I kept hollering "coming, coming" while I quickly swept. Before I could check on her, she had made her way into the kitchen. You should have seen the size of her grin when I looked to her and said "good girl!"- it was a Texas sized smile as they would say down here. She is quite happy to have some mobility. She still isn't lifting her quite substantial belly off the floor, but is pulling herself along with her arms and pushing with her toes. It works for her.
The weather is perfect here right now. Cooler than summer, sun shining some of the day, overcast the rest, some rain here and there. Soooooo refreshing!

Here is the riddle and discovery of a gift.

gift riddle

gift found

Dominique calls it Marryanne Poppins and wants to watch it everyday, but I won't let her!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Thanks grandpa Ray!

crawling lessons

Ivan's soccer kick as recorded on grandpa's Iphone.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

OK- so he's no natural competitive athlete

Well, I shouldn't have been surprised. I can't exactly say that Ivan is the athletic sort. He's not all together coordinated, nor is he aggressive, or competitive, plus he's a bit shy and intimidated by crowds- all of which make him a lovely if not highly successful soccer player. Some kids kicked, dove, dug in, fought crowds and dominated the ball, my son delightful ran up the field, steered clear of jam ups and the ball. One time it came right up to him as we all shouted "kick it, kick it!" he hesitated then solidly kicked it into the mass of other players and ran off to less crowded areas of the field. His coach kept trying to herd him into the mele. He was good at throwing the ball in from the side. The best part was what he was not... He was not upset that we loss, or that he didn't score. He didn't throw a fit or cry when the other team got a goal. He loved the running, having 10 fans come to personally cheer him on, how he looks in his soccer uniform and eating snacks after the game. We loved it and are looking forward to the other games. Ivan comes by it honestly. I played lots of sports, but hated the competitiveness and really never cared if we won or lost. Brian didn't play sports and is not aggressive in temperament at all. I had to teach him to compete at least a bit in board games so that it will be fun.

The kids are enjoying time with the grands who also got to watch the big game. These are grandpa Ray's pics soccer pics. I haven't uploaded mine yet. He also got a video of one of the 2 or 3 times when Ivan made contact with the ball, but I have to load it too. Wild fun in Abilene!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Action on Briarwood!

It was so surreal, because I had a similar experience when I was young, but last night, the dog alerted us that something was weird in the backyard. I went out, turned on the light and saw a man by our shed! The dog immediately ran out barking like Cujo and I yelled at the man "get outta here!" over and over (effectively waking up my son and scaring him too). The guy scaled our pretty much unscalable 6 foot chain link fence with no back gate, leaving his shoes, some cash and a ringing cell phone. My father-in-law went out into the yard with a stick thing- get this- we figured out soon enough that it was only Dominique's plastic light saber. He saw someone by the other gate and yelled at him, who turned out to be a neighbor pursuing the fleeing man. I called 911 and woke Brian who had already gone to bed. He and his dad went out and found the guy's belongings and talked to the police units who were there immediately. Ivan wanted to see the police and the dog that combed through our yard. I didn't tell him they were in the yard, but I did say they had been down the street. He wanted to give the K9 dog a doggie treat, so I let him give one to Saba instead. She got lots of treats and loving that night I tell you. I've always thought she was a little too aggressive, but on nights like last night I'm glad she has a mean bark. We've always felt safe in our home with her here even when we've forgotten to lock a door. Others on our street have been burglarized, but this is the closest we got to action and you should have seen that guy move when he heard her going nuts!

Meanwhile, in our more regular moments, we are enjoying the grands. Grandma Sue has never seen Mary Poppins (which Dominique calls Maryanne Poppins), so we watched half of it so far. The kids love it. Emora saw her first video, a baby Einstein like show and made strange at the adults in it (she cried terrified, painful screams of horror when they came on and was totally happy watching it when they left). Surprisingly, she took to the grands immediately, she must just know we belong together. Yesterday she learned to clap, and today she learned to roll from her belly to back. She is in training for crawling and making more sounds daily.

Ivan plays his first ever organized sports game tomorrow- soccer. He's #7 on the Fire Ants team. Canadians don't know fire ants. They are vicious little biting ants that give me and the kids painful blisters- a pretty fierce gang I tell you!

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Us and some of our friends. Ivan was saying all day that Caleb is still his best friend, which reminds me that we need to go play with Caleb sometime! We rarely see them anymore now that I'm not keeping them and Micah is such a little boy now, no longer a baby at all! I started taking care of him at 9 months, which is only a month older than Emora now! This was taken at Caleb's birthday. The boys were riding a pretend roller coaster and had a blast.

Playing piano with Isaiah at Tighe's.

Hanging out with Lily (Isaiah's sister, Tighe's daughter).

Going on a "walk" with Big Buddy- Mr. Griffin. We pretty much have to pry him out of his house, but sometimes the kid's pestering is for a good cause like this little lap around the block.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Go Fire ants!

I need to get my blogging self in gear! I have tons of pictures and videos in my bloggables file, not to mention that I need to get the camera out and start clicking for the most important reason that grandparents are here! All the way from NY! Grandpa Ray and grandma Sue arrived yesterday, which is how I'm able to type right now. Ivan and Dominique seem to have invisible strings attached to the grands and they trail around them like eager little bees. Grandma Sue has only been able to come 3 other times, twice since the kids started coming, so it's extra special. They spoiled us of course and Ivan has gotten particularly rotten with all the recent spoiling, but we are hoping he gets back to his wonderful self soon. They brought me a face paint book which I am so excited about. Ivan is currently wearing a super powers forehead design and Dominique picked out her own fairy face. They look cool. What a super easy way to entertain ourselves. With balloons and face paint, every kid is happy or can throw a quick party, no matter on the number of kids involved. I foresee fairy sleepovers, butterfly excursions and super powers play fests.

A friend gave the girls these matching dresses. They've only worn them together once so far since I don't do Emora's wash every week. Dominique is always begging to wear hers and is actually in it today.

Ivan missed his first soccer game Sat. which his team the Fire Ants won. Apparently every kid on the team scored a goal. Ivan's first game is this Sat. and we are so pumped about it. He'll have a bit of a cheering squad with mom, dad, two sisters, grandparents and friends in attendance! Aren't the kids cute? There are 7 of them and one is a girl. I haven't met any of them since I can't make it to the practices, but am looking forward to meeting them this weekend. They have pro looking red shirts and matching red socks. Ivan is number 7! Excitement to the max.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Quick weekend


Life has been a whirlwind the last little while. We have started with Ivan's soccer and speech therapy, so that has added to our weekly living, then we also went to Houston over the weekend for Brian's 20th high school reunion. I got to meet legends from his past that I had only heard about and others who have shared life with him total unknownst to me. That is pretty cool. It was so short, so that made it a bit of a bummer, but the kids still got every minute out of Papa and Nana that they could. They ate pizza and stayed up late playing Cooties, which Dominique kept calling cuties. They also got bike rides, over and over, and over again. I'm still resting my knee, so I let the grands work up a sweat! I got a little better educated about race car driving thanks to Papa who was very gracious to endure my constant questions as we watched the latest nascar race on tv. Brian said he would have loved to have my piano lessons from growing up, which I hated and I would have loved to have his neighborhood swimming pool. Houston is made for swimming- hot and humid for half the year, or so it seems.

Now we are home in time to receive Grandpa Ray and Grandma Sue from NY! They live even farther than my folks in Canada, if you can believe it, so it is a huge treat for them to come and Grandma Sue doesn't always make it down, so this is extra special. Traditions continue, they made it here during the fair, so maybe we'll go as usual and see the sights, pet some critters and catch a rodeo. Ivan's been asking if we could go, but I think he wants to ride. I'm sure he would change his mind as soon as he saw how big the horses are up close, or how far down it seems once on top!

Ivan is having his hearing tested tomorrow (as part of his therapy to rule out that angle) and the regular speech therapy, plus soccer, during my water aerobics class and the grands arrive... so I better get to bed!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

How many Texans does it take to hang a picture?

In case you were wondering how the composition of the portrait came about. We combined these two shots, the pose from one and the background from the other, and changed the background a little to make it look like she was just on the cement, not on the grass.

This was the day I got rid of the skin color, which was a total relief since it had been frustrating me for 2 weeks or more. Of course, later, I did more touch up of things I noticed and wished I still had my original mix. So I fudged it instead.

Here are Ivan and Dominique with their hammers while daddy hung the painting. Did you know it takes 3 hammers, 3 people and 1 nail to hang a picture? Well it does in our house.

Emora is trying to take off. Here she is doing her latest favorite pose. She rocks and wants to move from here, but hasn't quite gotten it yet. She also loves to stand and yesterday I got her to finally lift her feet up one at a time so that we could walk a bit around the room with her holding my hands. It was so cool and she giggled and laughed so happy with herself.

Nana came a month or 2 ago and we are heading to her place now this weekend. Brian is official old. Yep, it's his 20th high school grad. reunion. I am far younger. I have years before mine! (ok, 2 years- haha).

Ivan did great at speech therapy today. He can make the K sound if he thinks hard about it, but then kept reverting to a T sound. The therapist had him do lots of K sound words and gave them to him as homework. We are also going to have his hearing tested next week to rule out if it is hearing associated.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

A year in the making!

I'm finally, finally finished Dominique's 2 year painting. My parents had portraits made of all their kids at about 2 years old and I always thought they were so fun to look at. We still look enough like babies, but we're old enough that you can recognize us too. So I had the bright idea of having pictures done of my kids, only I can't afford it, so I am making them myself. It only took me OVER A YEAR to make Dominique's. OK, so I was a little busy, taking care of my kids, two other kids, doing another painting, painting Emora's clock, giving birth to Emora, adjusting to life with 3, going to Canada... Which is why it took so very long to finish it. I'm pretty pleased with it, especially if I stand back pretty far and squint my eyes! ha, ha. I love all the details, but the skin is SO HARD to do and I'm never really happy with that part of it. Of course, I never noticed until I got to the part where I had to paint her skin that she is showing a lot here. With Ivan's all I had was one hand and his face. I've got legs, feet, arms, hands and face for Dominique! It was quite frustrating, but now it's done and we are happy to have it on the wall. I've got some time to chill out and relax before Emora's turn to have her's painted. I should actually be practicing mixing and painting skin tones, but that doesn't sound like fun, especially since this one dragged on so very long. Dominique is not sure she likes the picture. Everyday since I started with the actual painting part, she tells me that I need to paint her, but she requested to be pink. I should have painted all her skin pink, that would have been a lot easier. Maybe another time... humm teenagers in monochrome?

Anyways, here's the progression. I drew it out a long time ago and started with the paint in July when we got back from Canada. I did her necklace first, then her clothes, the bike (I think the handlebars are my favorite part), her skin, hair and the background. The background was great since I didn't care so much about the details. I did all of that yesterday and today. The fence was one of the fastest parts and some of my favorite part too.

Dominique didn't want her picture taken with her portrait and none of these came out all that great. I even bribed her with candy- the little stinker. She's already so much older than in the picture, that her face has changed and she doesn't fit on her old bike. But I think you can see some resemblance still, especially in these two shots.

I also accomplished another momentous task this weekend. Today I packed up Emora's 6-9 month clothes and hung up 12month ones. She's a chunk I tell you. 18lbs and 27.5 inches. I suspect she will lose some of her roundness when she starts crawling. She is almost there. She gets on one knee with the other leg sticking straight out to the side, up on her arms and rocks back and forth. I think she's also sprouting teeth and has been terribly fussy about it. Plus she started saying dada and nana. I don't think she is actually calling for them, but she is making the sounds. I keep telling her mama, but she just stares at me. Besides, she doesn't need to say my name, we can all tell she is crying for me. She doesn't even want me to set her down much, which I suspect is some of that independence and fear of independence thing.