Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Dancing boys

The other day we were putting the boys down for a nap. They are going through this stage where they like to do everything themselves. So Wyatt runs to the sound machine (before anyone else could do it) to turn the rain on and music comes blasting out. Big smiles and dancing all around.
You can see it here:

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Chuck E Cheese

I came across this picture last night and couldn't not believe I had forgotten to post it on the blog!

While the kids were in town, Nana took us all to Chuck E Cheese for dinner. At first, I was skeptical -thinking there wasn't much for the boys to do, the food is yucky and the boys would be too young. But it just seemed in the cards for us to go and I am so glad we did. Surprisingly, the pizza was pretty good, and of course there were lots of things for the boys to do.

The boys loved riding in all the little moving cars and trucks. They totally understood the token concept and knew they were needed to make things work. Jaxon and Cathryn played air hockey when we first got there and for it being Jax's first time he had ever laid eyes on it, he did pretty good with a finishing score of 3-7 (Cathryn won).

At one point of the night, Luke was out of eye sight. I figured I would give it 30 seconds or so and got side tracked for a minute. Then I realized I still hadn't seen him and as I left the booth to go look, I saw him out of the corner of my eye. He was in the little car with Chuck E, feeding in tokens from a cup he snagged. Not sure where he got the cup from, but there were three little pictures of Lucas on the ride, this one even shows him feeding the car more tokens, so goodness knows how many he used in that minute or two.

We had a really good time and once in a while when we are in the car, the kids ask in a hopeful voice to go "play games". And even though the kids left to go back to California over a week ago, the boys still ask and talk about them being at Nana's house. It was a great visit and we can't wait to see them again!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

What's in a room?

The boys have recently taken a huge interest in playing in our bedroom. Every morning, they come in and lie down with me until a respectable hour. When I finally am ready to pop out of bed, Wyatt and Luke ask me to open the window. They like for me to open the curtains and pull the blinds up so they can play on the windowsill with their cars.

If playing with their cars doesn't sounds appealing, they all really enjoy pouring the change out of two humongous glass bottles we put our spare change into. Since they have started this game, I have been able to keep it down to the smaller of the two bottles (whew!), but I have a feeling that smaller bottle won't be in one piece much longer.

Here Jaxon is playing every one's dream game, "It's Raining Money" as they stall putting all 346 pieces of change back into the jar and another new glass container they have just emptied. I really am not complaining though. This new game just bought me 12 minutes of content happy play. Who says money can't buy happiness?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Papa and Grandma's visit

Don's parents were in town for a few days. We pretty much hung out here at the house, but we had a really good time. The boys love wearing their Papa's boots around the house and run to the cubby so Grandma Vicky will read to them. If they had more time, I think we would have had some much needed help in the potty training department, but it was time for them to get back to Texas. Hopefully they weren't in such a hurry because the boys were trying to use Papa Don's boot for "target practice".

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Aunt Rose


This week has been incredibly busy. The kids just left this morning and Don's parents are still here in town. The boys have loved getting loved on and I know it will be hard for them tomorrow when it is just back to the same ole-same ole going on.

This week my family felt an incredible loss. My Aunt Rose passed away. Words can't even describe how sad I am about this. Not only is the world without a great person, my family has lost the last person in that chapter of our history.

In 1912, when she was 19, my Great Great Grandma Laura Borrelli (who I am named after) came to America from a small town in Italy called Casamassima, near Bari. The story has been told that she was very spirited and her parents sent her to America to live with family that had already made their home here. She fell in love with Nicola Festa and after they got married, they had four children.

First born in 1915, was my Great Grandmother, Arcangela Festa (Great Grandama Lee to me). Next came their only son Salvatore (1917), followed by my Aunt Isabelle (1919) and last born, my Aunt Rose (1921). I don‘t have many memories of my Uncle Salvatore (or Sam as he was usually called), he passed away when I was younger (in 1982). Neither Aunt Isabelle or Aunt Rose married. My Great Grandma Lee married Nunzio Gaggiano; the son of her parent’s best friend and they had five children.

When I was a child growing up, I had a huge family. My grandparents had a family of 9 children and still were close with family of the previous generations. Both Aunt Isabelle and Aunt Rose were as big of a part of my life as my Great Grandma Lee was. Birthday parties, Christmas, and some events in between, they were a constant presence in my life.

In my head, their names just flow together. As long as I can remember, they had even lived together. My mom has great memories of a cottage "the Aunts" owned in a small town called Highland (now called Derby), in New York. A few streets down from that cottage is where I remember waiting with my Great Grandma Lee for my Mom to bring my sister Leigha (named after Grandma Lee) home from the hospital.

Just over 5 years ago, my Aunt Isabelle passed away, and a little over a year after that –my Great Grandma Lee passed away as well. I remember being so heartbroken, knowing that they wouldn't have the chance to meet my children. Ever since Aunt Isabelle passed away, my Aunt Rose has lived alone. At about 83 years of age, she had a major surgery on her corroded arteries and came back stronger than ever. She was active in her church and we all knew it was important for her to feel independent.

Now she is gone and it just saddens me to know that chapter of our family is gone. No more going to their house, where -like most older Italian women- they would try to fill our bellies up with good food. No more big encompassing hugs, with their arms around me and the same perfume they have worn my whole life wafting around me. No more wandering around their house, asking them questions about the history of their furniture and knickknacks, or who was in the pictures they had out.

My family is huge and being added to all the time. My Grandma Bette (one of Grandma Lee's daughters and my Mom's Mother) has over 50 grandchildren, plus more great grandchildren. I have cousins two and three times removed that are my dearest friends, even though we are across the country from each other. This closeness was all originally fostered by these women that are no longer with us. It is an odd feeling to know that our generations are shifting, and now we have moved up a notch.

So sad that the chapter is over before I was ready to close the book.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Supersize Sunday

We had an awesome weekend, but I will skip to today and follow up tomorrow of the rest of the weekend.

First thing this morning, we made our normal run to Einsteins before starting our day. The boys were great and very excited about meeting Cathy and her crew at the water playground after breakfast. The playground was great! First off, it was fenced in, which is a huge plus to anyone with small children. Second, it was huge!

At first, none of the six boys wanted to play in the water. They all teetered around the edges until Jax decided he wanted to play. Soon followed Wyatt and Luke could only be tempted when I told him he would have to put his shirt back on or get wet. Then he would find the drain area and dip his head in to make it wet. Stinker!

Nana and the cousins showed up soon after and soon most all the kids were enjoying themselves, running under the water hoops and shooting each other with the big water canons. After over an hour of fun, it was getting hot and time to pack up.

After the boys woke up from their nap. Don and I decided to use the awesome gift card Cathy got us as a thank you for painting her boys room. We had a huge BBQ dinner at Lucille's (and I got great pics of the kids while we were waiting) and then walked over to a nearby carousel.

It was the first time the boys have ever seen one up close and they loved it. Jaxon picked out a frog, Lucas an elephant and Wyatt held on tight to a big horse. In the beginning of the ride it was a toss up of which way it was going to go, but all of them had big smiles on their faces by the end of the ride.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Pictures on my phone

Lately, I have been taking more pictures on my phone than I used to. Usually it is to try to keep Don updated about what is going on with the kids, what they are doing in class, or if just something cute is going on. Since they are mostly just everyday moments, there is no better place to document the everyday than here.

In order of oldest to newest:

My Mom and I took the kids to the Aquarium at a local Casino. See, casinos do have family activities :)

My little monkeys sleeping in the backseat.

Jaxon and I

Gymnastics class. Lucas (in yellow) and Jax (in red) are on the balance beam. Wyatt is on the edge in green.

I had to laugh at this and take a picture to show Don. I am not sure if you can read it, but it is a sign advertising for someone running for Senate.

Movie day.

Look what Nana and Pops got us for the boys birthday!

Lucas prefers to play in the box.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Night Owls

I just put the boys to bed, even with Lucas crying his new favorite phrase, "no night-night". He was crying (which he rarely ever does) and I took pity on him. Lately I have been staying in their room for about 2 minutes to be sure they are not playing around. Tonight at the end of the two minutes, I sent Luke to our room on the sly and stayed in the boys room a few more minutes to be sure our secret was kept.

After I made it to our room, Don and I were chatting a bit, and Luke did his little suction kiss on my arm with his tongue sticking out a bit and then he started giggling. So I rasberried his neck a little and was pleased to hear the squeals of delight. At that very giggly moment, Jax walked in -with Wyatt behind him. We were busted.

So right now, I have all three lying on my bed, at 9:30 at night, watching the Disney Channel.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Busy Busy Days

This past week has been jammed full of things to do. Michael, Matthew and Cathryn staying with us really pumped things up around here. We spent lots of time at the parks, playing in the water and having fun. While the boys napped, the big kids got acquainted with the Wii and had some great competition going.

Matthew and Cathryn have been loving the guitars and drums here. They grab the fireman hats or the cowboy hats and make their own band. Matthew is hilarious in the evening playing Wii, singing out bits of songs he has heard during the day as he plays.

What the kids have wanted to do more often had been swimming. Finally last night with Nana back, we all had a really good time in the pool. The weather has been well over 100, so that pool feels so refreshing in this heat.

The van has been returned to the rental place, and I have to admit, I will miss it. It was nice having all that room between the kids -much less fighting, but much less control, too.

Today we saw our third free movie of the summer. We get a magazine about Vegas and I find that there are free Tues and Wed morning movies, as well as free Thurs-Sun outside movies at various places in the evenings as well. Free is good.

Don's parents are heading back into town soon. His grandma LaVerne (who lives about two hours away) is sick and they are going to visit some other California family as well. So it should be an exciting week and the kids will love having so much family around. Lots to look forwards to.

Here is a slide show of the past few days. Mostly action shots, but we were having such a good time, I couldn't just narrow it down to a few for the post. Enjoy!

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Our Fourth of July

Yesterday was such a relaxing day. The first half was a bit like normal- breakfast, lunch, and naps. Except a few different things were thrown in. Mike, Matthew and Cathryn are in town and staying with us for a few days while Nana and Pops are in Alaska. So a van has been rented to chart all of us around in one vehicle and all six kids are having a blast!

After nap time yesterday, we all packed in the van and headed over to Nana's house. Even though there wasn't the big party like every year, we knew there would still be lots of neighbors out and we couldn't forget that Nana has a pool to swim in. With a quick stop to pick up pizza, we were on our way!

First we ate, and then spent a good hour or so playing in the pool. The boys loved when Cathryn and Michael would swim under the water around them, especially Jaxon, he would gleefully scream at the top of his lungs about the "shark". Belle jumped in the pool next to Michael; and Matthew preferred to hang out by the stairs still since he isn't tall enough to stand in the shallow end yet. As the sun went down, it got chilly fast and after everyone showered, we went out front to see the fireworks.

Jaxon was still not a big fan of the fireworks, keeping his hands over his ears almost the whole night. Towards the end of the night, the noises didn't phase him at all, and he really got to enjoy it. Lucas and Matthew loved handing out the firework boxes and tubes to Michael and Don to light, while Wyatt and Cathryn loved playing with the sparklers.

The highlight of the evening for me was once we all loaded in the van to go back to our house. It was so awesome listening to all the kids looking for all the fireworks outside of the van windows as we drove. Hearing the kids ohh and ahh over the fireworks was precious. A few times the boys would claim "I saw it, Mommy, I saw it!" when I know there was nothing to see, but it was funny that they were that excited.

After we got home and Leigha picked up the big kids, Don and I sent our kids upstairs to get ready for bed. Our neighbors diagonally in front of our house were setting off their own (illegal) fireworks. We got the boys in their pjs and all five of us sat on a bench, in the dark, only 15 feet away from the explosion of the fireworks. It was awesome. A perfect way to end our fourth of July.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Fire Station Fun

The other day we had a chance to go on a tour of a fire station with the LVMOMS group that I belong to. We got a tour inside and out, and then of course the kids got to play in and around the trucks. We even saw the ambulance go out to a call, so the kids got to see the lights and hear the siren up close.

On our way out, the firefighters passed out little fireman hats and sticker badges. They even had a little booklet that the boys could color in also to remind them that firemen are our friends and even though they look scary in their uniform (helmet, jackets, big clothing) they are there to help. The boys really had a good time and love wearing their little hats around in the house.

When we got home there were two messages on the machine from Don. I sat the kids down with crayons to color their new fireman pictures while I started lunch. As the messages were playing, I realized the boys were talking back to him, so I had to get the camera and record it.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Video of boys

I have come across a few videos I wanted to post, but never did, so this week will bring a few more.

This was taken back when we were trying to potty train. Trying, not succeeding.