Monday, June 28, 2010

Ben the Basketball Boy

We went to a friend of the family's graduation party this weekend, and Ben and Hunter got their first taste of basketball on a hard surface. We have a basketball hoop on the grass in the backyard, but having a real hoop, with a hard surface to bounce the ball, was a whole different ballgame, literally.

I never saw Ben's excitement coming! He loooooved it! He ran around the driveway for the longest time, trying to dribble, and making a dozen baskets!

The amount of joy making a basket gave him was pandemonium! He ran like a crazy kid to dad and me to share the news.
The amount of sweat and dirt was alarming for this mama. I was icked-out, and realized what a long life of more ick I have ahead of me!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Summer To-Do List

The first day of summer has passed, and I feel the need to make a to-do list of sorts. I want to soak this whole season up! We have already had some serious fun, catching fireflies, slip n' sliding, jumping in fountains, and swimming...

1. Put fireflies in a mason jar.
2. Go for a hike in the Kettle Morraine.
3. Bird watch here.
4. Let the kids paint masterpieces outside.
5. Go fishing on the Sugar River.
6. Swim in Lake Michigan.
7. Go to Cedarburg.
8. See Josh Turner, and Jason Aldean sing, live. Not together.
9. Smell lilies growing in the garden.
10. Make homemade Pesto.
11. Go camping.
12. Watch a sunset.
13. See these waterfalls.
14. Sun-dry my home grown tomatos.
15. Photograph a hummingbird.
16. Sun-bathe.
17. Laugh uncontrollably.
18. Learn to can.
19. Take the kids to a water park.
20. Look for Moose in Northern Wisconsin.
21. Have a picnic.
22. Have a garage sale.
23. Allow myself to sit in the garden, and relax.
24. Join the local Garden Guild.
25. Watch fireworks & play with sparklers.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

First ever T-ball practice.

For me, the most sentimental parts of my kiddos' lives thus far have been first words, first day of pre-school, first signed Mother's Day cards. For Theo, I think, the first day of T-ball practice marked an emotional and exciting stepping stone. In fact, from his baseball-centric viewpoint, I think this may have been his best day as a father yet. The occasion was even more special since dad got to play "Coach Theo" to twelve little kids.

The boys loved finding the field, and watching dad lug out his the water jug, and round up the balls and bases.

I love this picture of my boys so much!

Ben, learning to stretch.

I have to say, watching Theo struggle to keep 12 kids attentions was wonderfully entertaining! he was exhausted afterward! So many more twice a week practices to come, too.
Happy Summer to you!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Real Reality

I was just getting caught up on one of my favorite blogs, by a scrapbooking military wife and mother. I don't know her one bit, but he scrapbooking and vintage collections inspire me. Her recent blog post challenged us to make a little reality inventory of sorts. It sounded cleansing, and just like thing I needed to do right now... so here goes.

My reality:

1. I try my damndest, but my house is a pigsty. Stacks of newspaper litter the kitchen table, which is sticky because I only wipe it down every 2 days. This time of year there is dog hair and cat hair everywhere. Laundry has been known to sit in it's basket folded for weeks before it gets put away. Dishes sit overnight atleast twice a week. Dust is abundant. I think the dust likes it here because it knows I won't wipe it away anytime soon.

2. Atleast two days a week I stay in my pajamas all day long. The kids do, too. Ben likes it beause Theo will come home and call him a "Lazy Bones."

3. I yell a lot. Most days. I hate yelling, but sometimes I simply can't get my points across unless I do.

4. We swear in front of our kids. And when they suck, we swear at our kids. Fortunately, the kids have not yet picked up using the words in everyday language. The day Ben outbursts with the F-Bomb, then we'll make a change. Maybe. Just because we have kids doesn't mean we can change years of being sailors. Trust us, we tried.

5. We only eat out about once a month. We do not "drive thru" places or pick up food on our way home. I despise fast food. And really look down on people who feed masses of it to their kids. That said, my kids can go an entire day eating packaged food like granola bars, cheerios, crackers, go-gurt, and string cheese, or the unpackaged apple and baby carrots they can pull out of the fridge themselves, if I simply can't find the desire to prepare a meal.

6. I let my kids dress themselves if we aren't going anywhere. They almost never match. Nothing they wear costs more than a few bucks, and tons of it come from yard sales.

7. I am content, and not longing for much anything different in our lives (expect the improved credit and larger home lot to play on). What I mean is, I don't miss having a career, or getting validation from an education. I love just being a mom, and wife, to the almost-best of my abilities. If I never went to work again, I'd be okay with it. I like playing in the kitchen, and sewing curtains, and knitting, and scrapbooking, and even cleaning and organizing my home when my energy permits.

8. I am proud and unapologetic for being a conservative Christian, and raising my kids that way. I am pissed when people assume this also means I am closed-minded, racist, idiot, because assuming such is, well, closed-minded, racist, and idiotic.

9. I firmly believe the best thing I have done as a parent is teaching my kids to do for themselves. Seeing parents who do everything for their kids frustrates me. My kids, ages 4 and 5, could probably go an entire day without me, literally. There may be spilled milk on the floor, but they would be dressed, fed, occupied, and even have brushed teeth. They would even clean up their toys! And the cats would clean up the milk. Ever wonder how I have so much time to garden, etc. ? It especially urks me when the parent does everything for the kids because it makes them feel better about themselves--they aren't teaching their kids anything, and thus, aren't parenting.

10. I nap a couple days a week. We make our bed about 4 times a year.

11. I wear make-up maybe 4 times a month.

12. I have terrible facial hair. If I were to really stay on top of it, I'd be waxing every 3 days.

13. Theo is a superhero. This is the truth. Without him, this whole house would crumble. I would lose all control. I know so many women who can't trust their husbands to take charge, but if I wanted to, I could check out completely for days at a time, and the family routine would be unchanged. Most days he gets the kids breakfast before I even find my way to the coffee pot (to sip coffee he's often made for me). Somedays he comes home and prepares dinner while I "get out," and roam the town. I have so much love for him I might burst just gushing about it.

14. I really do love my life.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Family Goals.

These kids love riding their auntie and uncle's four wheeler. It may be one of their favorite things to do. A couple times a year we head down to visit, and, if weather permits, a few quick rides through the farmland surrounding auntie and uncle's house thrills these boys (hubby included) to bits. Kind of rejuvinating, and soul-fulfilling. The country is where we belong.

This has got me thinking.

Theo and I have always wanted more property. Me, so I can garden even more. Him, so he can have a 4-wheeler, hunt, etc. We also don't want to spend the rest of our lives in this ever-aging 116 year old house. Ideally, we could have a larger lot, in a more rural location, in a slightly better home, before the kids are too old to appreciate it. By the time Ben is 8-9 we want him to have a country home to go with his country attitude.

Think of the possibilities. Fishing in a creek or river, like Theo did at 10. Dirt bikes! Their own little football field! Hunting on the back acre? More dogs? The boys' own vegetable garden? Maybe even a little farm stand where we sell our produce? My own cutting garden, where I can trim all the bouquets of flowers without making the flower beds barren. Planting our own little forrest? Creating a woodland trail through it. Clubhouses and tree houses and a garden shed.

In a perfect world we could place his house on the market, and begin packing, but at this moment in time, we are in no financial shape to move. The market is no good for selling our house (we've watched nearly every house around us try and sell, and even some foreclose). But our kiddos are not getting any younger. A plan is in order. This family wants to fulfill their dreams.

**We also know the city could soon (1-2 years) pull eminent domain on our home for a city project, making now the time to start planning for the next move--even if the next move may be a few years away. Nevermind the fact that being a military family we could be moved at any time, we should be prepared.

It's no secret that currently: our credit isn't great. Theo has now been sober for 4 1/2 months, and loves sobriety! In time, we should be able to erase most of the financial errors of his alcoholism, and both our irresponsibilities. The way we see, it, in 2 years we should have pretty good credit again. We have mapped out a plan to improve our credit scores, and plan on him having a few pay raises and me potentially working again when both boys are in grade school (2 more years). Just thinking about all this excites me.

I have to say, sitting down and seeing the brighter future is within grasp, is deeply satisfying.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Daily Routine

At least once a day these boys want to ride their scooters. They don't get to go far, but it doesn't phase them. They like to go back and forth from our lot and the neighbors yard.

They have some elaborate pretend games they play. One will be daddy at work, and the other comes to meet him; or one will be at home, and the other is daddy coming home from work. they give each other rides, and have snack time on the front steps.

I was photographing a flower when they ran over to ask to have their picture taken. So cute they posed for me all on their own.

Hunter even went in to kiss his "bruh-der," in the next picture.

Happy Summer!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Dad's Work

The kids got a chance to look at some of the trucks at Daddy's work this last weekend. They loved getting up close to the cool Army trucks! Dad is their hero, for sure.