Saturday, March 21, 2009

Red Envelope Day

Some information taken from

When: March 31st, 2009

Get a red envelope. You can buy them at office or party supply stores.

On the front, address it to:

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington , D.C. 20500

On the back, write the following message:

This envelope represents one child who died because of an abortion. It is empty because the life that was taken is now unable to be a part of our world.

Please mail the envelopes with us on March 31st, 2009. Not before and not after. If we all do this together, then the President will be overwhelmed with our message in a short amount of time.

If you agree with our motivation, please forward this event to every one of your friends who you think would send one too. There were 50 million children in the United States that died without having a chance to live. We are hoping to match that number with these red envelopes.

Those who believe abortion is wrong find it hard to use their voice and when they do, they are left feeling ashamed. I believe it is true that those who feel abortion is wrong are in a minority.

So find yourself a red envelope and help us show the President that we have found our voice and what we have to say needs to be heard.


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Back to life, back to reality....

Hey all -

I'm saying back to reality because staying at The Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs was most definitely not my reality!

If you have no idea what I'm talking about, then you need to read my blog updates more often! :P Quick background - because of Facebook, I found an old friend who couldn't brush me off so easily like she has in the past. (Love you, Katie!) She hasn't been very good about keeping in touch, but she was getting better at it and we both started talking about my flying out there to see her (it's been 10 years). We planned on my coming out there before Bryce turned two in mid May, leaving on a weekend and being gone a couple week days, which meant Devin would have to be taken to day care until I returned. Then my husband found out that the conference he would be going to over the week of his birthday would be in Colorado Springs. My sweet hubby suggested I come along with him, that is, of course, if I could find someone to take care of the boys while we were gone.

I was short on time because the tickets needed to be bought fairly quickly. I called my parents who said they'd have to check their calenders and while I waited I called my sister Amanda who said she would do it if my parents were unavailable. Thankfully my parents came through for me, so a ticket to Colorado was mine!

My parents arrived late last Saturday afternoon. On Sunday morning we took them to their first NE Ohio pancake breakfast which is a big deal around here. They tasted the sweet nectar of our local trees atop pancakes that soaked up the thin syrup like a sponge. By the end of the day they said they felt they had a handle on the boys' routine, so Tim and I packed up and headed to the airport to catch an 8:00 A.M. flight Monday morning.

It got very windy that night but the rain stopped and we were airborne without a problem and headed for Houston. Every seat on that plane was taken. Anything left open was filled by passengers waiting on stand by. Like my hubby, the man in the window seat must be a frequent traveler because his eyes were closed when we buckled ourselves in and didn't open once during the two hour and forty minute flight south. He shifted a bit, but he never looked upon the wonder outside that window. I hadn't flown since our flight to Florida back in 2004 when we boarded a cruise ship, so my eyes were glued to that small portal for some time.

We had about an hour layover in Texas and then we boarded a much smaller plane, two seats on one side of an aisle, one seat on the other. Tim told me that most of his travel time was spent on these smaller and much louder planes. I had the window seat this flight and even though I've seen it before, I was just in awe at the marvel that is air travel. Until we were embraced by the clouds, I looked down at the landscape like it was all a model, a child's play land or an adults hobby town. But then, ugh, I remembered I hadn't taken out a piece of chewing gum. It not only helps the ears but it calms my stomach and head.

We landed in the second largest state without incident and walked to our rental car. Seeing what they assigned us I had to wonder if Enterprise felt we deserved something nicer than the typical four door vehicle. Did they know I was a mini van mom, soon to be driving to practices and games (more of that later), or see Tim as the truck guy that is and will forever be? They gave us a silver Dodge Charger. It didn't take long for my hubby to roll down the windows and crank up that base! He sure did look good behind the wheel! :P

We cruised to the hotel where we were greeted by a gentleman in a suit. He welcomed us to The Broadmoor, gave us a colored map and verbal directions to where our room was inside the West Tower. He also put a cream colored placard with a computer print out of our last name. We drove up what I'm sure in warmer months is a well groomed drive and pulled in under a two columned overhang and were greeted by two handsome valets. One opened the door for me and then took our bags out of the trunk while the other opened the door for Tim and then drove the Dodge away. Both took notice of our name behind the windshield and greeted us formally. That was the first sign of the little details that makes The Broadmoor stand out among other hotels (but not like I've been to a lot!).

If I remember right, the hotel was built in 1918 and it still had probably the same look as when those gold colored trim glass doors first opened! I like flowers and all, but there was way too many of those prints for my liking. I don't think there was a single stretch of carpet that wasn't all flowers or bordered in flowers. All the chairs were high backed and comfortable, most a thick dark wood with tasteful designs carved along the majority of the exposed wood. To save time for all of us, let's just say we were treated like celebrities.

We asked the valet to keep the car close as we were just dropping off our bags. One thing I wasn't prepared for was how often I interacted with a hotel employee and felt I needed to tip. Tim didn't have anything to give the man who wheeled our bags up to our room. I had a five dollar bill but thought that was too much to give him. However, during the walk to the elevator he told us some of the history of the hotel, where we could find what we needed while there and some local attractions we might want to visit. He was very well spoken and a wonderful representative of the hotel. He deserved that five dollar bill of mine.

Once back out in the car, I set up Richard (my TomTom GPS unit) and looked up the Air Force Academy and saw it was about 15 miles away. We took the exit to the visitor's center and were surprised that the building was inside the main gate. We pulled up to a female soldier who asked Tim for his ID, his reason for being there, where the rental car was from and looked in both the back seat and the trunk. I lived four years on a base in Utah and never had my car searched, but I can understand her precautions. Along the two mile stretch to the visitor's center we passed a couple of scenic pull overs which we enjoyed on that windy day. I don't remember for sure, but I think the only picture I saved from that trip is the one of the chapel. The day was grey with brown grass and naked trees. It just didn't make for a pretty picture.

There was a small museum in the visitor's center. It consisted mostly cadet pictures and what they have to do to be accepted and what they do while there. It also had a dedication to the first academy graduate to get the purple heart. Tim wanted to get himself a shirt, but they were very pricey. I had my eyes on a pair of earrings but changed my mind. I did pick up a toy jet for Devin.

Afterwards we headed back out and stopped at a liquor store and picked up a bottle of wine. We were going to see Brandon, a high school classmate of Tim's, and his wife for dinner and weren't sure what to bring. We picked a bottle that goes with everything and found we need not have worried as they love all wine and had two wine racks plus a bar full of other yummy adult beverages. While the men took the biggest hunks of meat I have ever seen outside to the grill, I stayed in the kitchen and drank a Corona with a fresh lime and chatted with the lady of the house and the cutest one year old blondie I have ever met. The children's names are alluding me, but they have a four year old boy and their daughter just turned one. Even though her mama says she was sick, the little thing was an adorable ray of sunshine on that chilly evening. Her laugh was the softest I had heard in a toddler and it was contagious.

Tim doesn't know this but I saved him from a serving of peas! Along with fresh steak we were being served salad with veggies, mashed potatoes and it would have been peas if I hadn't shared the fact that Tim has banned the small green balls from touching any of his dinner plates. So instead we got sweet corn kernels and they had chocolate chip and macadamia nut cookies for dessert. Oh, yes. I also had a few too many glasses of wine.... If you've read my geocaching blog then you already know that I missed breakfast with my hubby and couldn't get out of bed until almost noon! If not, click here after you've spent all your time reading this one! :P It was an enjoyable evening and I'm glad we got to see Brandon after all these years and meet his wonderful family.

To find out what I did with a hangover echoing through my head, read the blog I mentioned above. Afterwards, I headed over to see an old classmate of mine. One I hadn't seen in just about ten years! Katie has lived in Colorado a few years now. Before then she was in Virginia, but has now found a good place in the high altitudes of the Centennial State.

I hadn't traveled all that way to do anything special. Just seeing her and reminiscing was my primary objective. I actually arrived at her house about a minute before Katie did, so it was her "Mini Me" who answered the door. Rae-Ann looks so much like her mom, I thought I had gone back in time. That moment was one of many I would have of Katie in her younger years. Some of those looks...whoa!

Katie and I decided to go out for a couple hours by ourselves. There was a Mexican restaurant down the street where we could talk about the good 'ole days. Besides Rae, there was the oldest Martin, or Marty, and then the middle child, Taylor, whom Katie referred to as Stump. I hadn't heard her younger brother Kris's nickname in a very long time! I could see Kris there in Taylor and I think the trophies on the wall reflect some of his uncle's great sportsmanship.

However, the kids weren't all that keen on letting us go. I asked them if I could have their mom for an hour or two because I hadn't seen her for many years. They said OK, but we would soon find out that they didn't mean it. They acted out as kids tend to do. It started not long after we sat down with a phone call from one of the boys saying that he got into a fight with his brother and Marty's glasses were broken. The eatery was slow and dinner arrived not long after, but Katie had only just begun enjoying her Spanish rice when her cell phone rang again. Her other son was calling to tell her that they had now broken the leg off the small table by the front door. Katie predicted that Rae would soon call because the other two did, and she was right! We finished up and headed back to the house where Katie asked me to stay behind in her Jeep. What was said between her and the children is for her and them alone, I'll just tell you that while eating some ice cream at the local Dairy Queen, Katie experienced another blast from the past. We couldn't text on cell phones back when we were young, but Rae-Ann used this technology to fulfill the wish Katie's mom once hoped for years ago; that her daughter would have a daughter of her own that would do unto her all that Katie had done to her mom. In Rae-Ann was all the drama young Katie had layered on her mom over the years. Hmmm. Maybe I should stop complaining about having all boys? :)

I was out late that night, but there was still a shivering valet waiting to take my car. I saw no one in the hallways or the elevator and my hubby was snoring when I let myself into the room. The next morning I headed over to Katie's again. I didn't have to share her with the kids as they are all in school. We had plans to meet another old school mate, Tom, but when Katie called and said we were on our way into Denver, he said he wasn't feeling well and to have lunch without him. So instead Katie showed me the good and the not so good side of the city. We eventually slid into a Wendy's and had a simple lunch with a lot of talk. Right as we were about to order Tom called and said he was ready for lunch. He was on the other side of town and we were hungry, so we said we'd come over when we finished. What I remember most about the city is the new football stadium. It's not a closed circle but is open on two of the sides and the tops of those sides make a wave instead of being circular. Also, when no one is in the seats you can see the color is blue, but in the middle of one side you can see a horse made up of white colored seats with two red ones for the eyes.

With the delay before seeing Tom we could only stay a couple hours. It was great seeing him after all these years and apparently he has a much better memory than I do! Some things I remembered, like him being the first boy to give me a pair of earrings, but other things, like my telling him to get off the back of my tandem bike and leaving him behind, I don't remember. He says it's because he was shaking the bike and made us fall, and if that's true then it serves him right! LOL

We headed back to Katie's to discover along the route that my dinner plans had been cancelled. I came into the house with Katie and we discussed with the kids what we should do. A few ideas were tossed back and forth but none of them panned out because of time, money or lack of desire. Katie suggested I tell them what geocaching was all about. At the time I didn't think she was truly interested, but we had nothing else to do and the kids perked up at such a strange word.

I told them briefly what it was and showed them on their computer where to go. They said they wanted to try it so we all climbed into Katie's Jeep and I put my GPS in her window and told them what it was and what it would do for us. (I'm not going into a full description about it. If you'd like one, please see my other blog.) I had found two caches hidden not far from each other less than two miles from the house. When I shared the name with them Taylor knew right away where it probably was. The names are usually a clue of some sort, either in location or a hint of some sort of the actual hiding spot. Once there I showed them my handheld GPS and how my hubby gave me this one because it was more rugged and made for being carried by hand, unlike my TomTom on their mom's windshield which can break if dropped and the antenna would be covered if I were to carry it outside the car.

Skipping over the details here, I'll say all three kids and their mom were hooked! Katie has since, with the kids and with adults, found five caches and she's only been doing it a week!

On Thursday Katie was supposed to work but she decided to play hookey and came up (or was it down?) to the hotel to have lunch with Tim and I. After that she wanted to find one more cache with me. It was great seeing her and now she won't be able to get rid of me! :P

Later that evening my GPS led me to an old stone church that had been refurbished and turned into a restaurant and bar. There I met one more childhood friend. Erika left the school we both went to back in the 3rd grade. It was my good luck that my hubby had a biz trip in that state and even better luck that three people from my past were able to meet up with me. She didn't have a lot of time, but in that short span we shared memories of people, places and things. It was great seeing all of them again. We've exchanged phone numbers and emails and I'm hoping we'll stick to our promise of keeping in touch.

On Friday morning we returned our flashy rental car and boarded the same flight we took to get there and backtracked. Our layover in TX went by so fast that when we arrived at our gate they had already been boarding the plane for twenty minutes. Like our flights to Colorado, the flights back to Cleveland were booked full. I had a window seat again in one, and like before, the man with the best view in that tin can closed the blind half way and went to sleep in the other.

Our last flight was full of bumpy turbulence, but that wind helped us along and we landed 30 minutes early. We caught a shuttle to the truck and I called the house to let them know we were on our way. My parents had a couple problems with some things inside the house, but it sounded like the boys were wonderful and it was overall a great time. My parents were quick out the door the next morning, skipping breakfast and on the road before 9:00. It wasn't because we were back and they wanted out as fast as possible, (at least that's what they led me to believe! LOL) but because my grandma back in Michigan was in need of their assistance and they wanted to get back for her.

OK. That took forever. A couple things I'd like to say about my boys. Number one is a question to myself. Why, oh, please tell me why, did I go through the effort of scrubbing the walls of pen, marker, crayon and pencil when there is still a toddler who doesn't know any better in the house?!? Hunter prefers a pencil because it's easier to erase and they don't use pens all that much in school, but he was writing a letter to his cousin and I wanted him to use a pen so it wouldn't smear. I think some blame should fall on Hunter. Why he pushes his chair in every other time but not this one is beyond me, but he left the chair out and the pen in the open position. Bryce almost always sits next to his brother at the table. Many a picture I have taken with Hunter doing his homework and Bryce scribbling on paper next to him. Hunter left, Bryce switched chairs. First Bryce turned the page of the notebook, leaving Hunter's letter clean of ink scribbles but covering his homework on the next page. Then he made circles and lines all over my Amish made table, which bothered me the most, then he climbed down and left his mark all over both sides of the dining room half of the kitchen island. He was decorating the second side when I found him. I won't be cleaning that again any time soon.

Dev is doing great. The weather is warmer so he's been going in and out about twenty times a day. He loves his big Santa gift. He drives that Jeep all over the back yard and we've been out to the pond to feed the fish. He doesn't mind Bryce as a passenger and neither of them want to come inside, even when the light is fading and the cold air comes back to remind us that summer isn't here quite yet! He can't seem to hush up and has even corrected me when he thinks I say something wrong. Like 55 minutes on the timer isn't 55, it's 5-5 minutes. He also reminds me to turn off the light when leaving a room and, listen to this! If I'm dumping poo in the toilet and don't close the lid, he tells me to put both seats down! Hooray! LOL

Hunter Bud has gotten himself in trouble three times this week. Devin had been hitting him and instead of telling me, Hunter kicked him in the crotch. They were downstairs when I heard Devin start screaming and crying. He was able to tell me what happened and Hunter hung his head because he knew it was wrong...or he was mad he got caught. We had to have a talk about that and then a few days ago he lied about what homework he had (it was a writing assignment), saying he was only supposed to read from his Ohio History book when he was supposed to write a letter to a pretend friend saying why he signed his name to the Declaration of Independence. I didn't realize this until I was helping him gather his things back together to put in his book bag and glanced at his planner. It was bed time already so instead of getting up and watching cartoons in the morning, a fresh piece of paper and sharpened pencil were waiting for him.

The third incident happened just today (Thursday). I asked him what homework he had and he pulled out a two sided math work sheet and said he had to write a comparison between what he eats today and what the settlers ate back in the late 1700's. Wow, I said, that's the most homework you've had at one time. I asked if he had OT or ST because he leaves the room to work elsewhere and sometimes misses out on classwork, but then I read the following in the communication notebook:

Hunter has a ton of work. I asked him to stop reading. He did not stop and most of what he is bringing home is "in-class" work. Check planner.

His love for books has finally gotten him in trouble. He always stopped before but it sounds like this time whatever story he was reading just wouldn't let him go. I understand that completely, but I only get in trouble with myself, or my hubby if he runs out of undies, when I choose a book over my chores. Hunter got in trouble with his teacher. I told him that what he did was disrespectful to her and that he can only read books during his free time or if he asks his teacher and she says yes. I also told him he can read a book on the bus instead of playing his Nintendo DS, but I don't think he's going to trade the video games for a book yet!

All right. I'll end this novel here. I still have quite a few new pictures to post. If you read this entire thing, I thank you! Hope you are all well. I don't have my new email up and running yet, so you can still continue to use or Everyone be safe and I hope this weekend feels like spring wherever you are!


Thursday, March 5, 2009

Dear Mom and Dad. What the heck are you thinking? :)

I dedicate this update to my parents, Eldon and Kathy, who have agreed to take care of my boys next week. This is a cross between a belated update and a letter to them.

I've been delaying this update hoping I could get my website up and running. I've had enough of the poor service from my provider. I've complained about them over the years; website down, no incoming or outgoing email. Sometimes no incoming but have outgoing, sometimes vice versa. It's been pretty pathetic so I told my hubby I was going to make the change. He told me he'd find me a new provider, but the man went one step further and got things pointed in the right direction, but too soon! I didn't have my site ready to transfer over and now, poof! Gone. I've been in touch with my provider, who made a snide remark about my transferring providers as well as gave me the info I needed. I'm hoping I can figure it out myself as my hubby has been working late and would like me to do other things besides work on my site.

In the mean time, I've been doing some spring cleaning around here. From jobs as easy as dusting to a bit more in depth like cleaning and organizing closets to things that take a bit more elbow grease, like washing walls of caked on food, decorative crayon/marker/pen designs and wavy, zig zag creations of juice from the spout of a sippy cup in the pudgy hands of Bryce. I think I'm going to miss those reflections of light on those dried up liquid tracks on the walls of my hallway. There are some marks I've left alone, some I haven't gotten to yet. I'm in no hurry as I'll be cleaning them up for the next three years at least!

I considered delaying the posting of this update until after say, 10:00 A.M. Saturday morning, when you, dad and Kath, will already be on your way from Northern Michigan to NE Ohio with no Internet access and the chance to turn around. What I share in this blog entry might make you think twice, but you were game and prepared when we arrived for the Christmas holiday. After telling them about B knocking our Christmas tree over and taking off all the ornaments, and I'm sure I told them other, wonderful, memory making things as well, they came up with a solution. They picked up a live Christmas tree to avoid a repeat scenario and will be planting it whenever spring finally arrives in N. Michigan. They are two, so if they split up and each cover one half of the house, they might survive my boys OK! :P

Why, do you ask, are my parents coming to visit? Why not?? It's not just a 48 hour drop by and go, the kind we're used to around here, but they are staying for a WEEK! My wonderful, amazing, terrific, and superb mom and dad said yes to my request of caring for my boys while Tim and I left on a plane Monday through Friday. You see, my hubby has to go on another business trip. This time he's headed to Colorado Springs, CO for a conference. My thoughtful hubby remembered my interest in visiting my friend and cousin Katie who lives near Denver. We have discussed it, but never really came to a decision. Than he found out where his conference was going to be and he said if I could find someone to take the boys for that week, I was welcome to come with him.

I called my parents with high hopes, and they didn't let me down! They had to check their schedules of course, but my dad was fairly confident they could pull it off. Thanks to them I can get away for a few days and stay in a nice hotel and see people I haven't seen in years! Not only does Katie live in Colorado, but so do two other people I went to school with. I'm very excited to go and fortunate my parents gave up a week of their lives in Michigan to spend with their grandchildren. I know it's a long drive and they have their own lives. I travel so often back to Bellaire because I want my boys to know who I'm talking about when I say Grandma and Grandpa. Your saying yes and showing your excitement when we talk or in your emails proves to me that you want to be with my boys as much as I want them to be with you.

So, they will arrive here sometime Saturday afternoon. They'll take a part in the daily routine in our house, get themselves reacquainted with the surroundings and on Monday morning, take the place of Tim and I for five days. Hunter wrote them a letter to say how happy he was that they were coming and told me he hoped Devin wouldn't annoy them too much!

I'm pretty sure they'll read this before heading out, so, Dad, Kath, here are some things you can look forward to!

Bryce loves Cocoa Puffs. It's his favorite cereal. Even though it turns his poo almost black, I don't mind him eating a big dry bowl of it in the morning. One morning though, he had one of these bowls and afterwards I cleaned up his chocolate face and let him loose to continue running circles around the house. I went downstairs to fold another load of laundry and when I came back up with an armful, Bryce's mouth was dirty again. I wondered if he had found some lost Cocoa Puffs. I didn't think much of it and started down the hall to the bedrooms when Dev called out, Mom, look at his hands! I looked and they were covered in something brown...and then I breathed in that smell. A smell that seems to coat my nose even when I know no one is poopy. A stench I can pick up on in the food court of a busy shopping mall. 21 month old Bryce was covered in his own poo!

He was not just covered in it, oh, no. He was eating it! What I thought was chocolate on his face. No. It was poo. What I could see on his tongue and on his tooth. Poo. There on his shirt, his pants and in his hair. P-o-o, spells poo! So Bryce got his bath at 10:00 in the morning and he was not happy about it. Afterwards I inspected the floor, the recliner and couch, the banister and the walls, but it seems B was still focused on the poo on him and hadn't outsourced any of it yet.

You'd think I'd remember to do one simple thing. How can I not notice when I pass it by 50 times a day? You'd think I'd remember what happens when B takes notice and what I have to spend time doing afterward! I'm talking about the easy task of pushing a chair in at the table when it's not being used. My passing it over this week led to me brushing off and then vacuuming up salt he made a pile of between his legs as he sat happily in the middle of my Amish manufactured table. Hunter is very good at remembering, but he left his half drunk root beer there and Bryce helped himself to the puddle he created by climbing up from Devin's empty chair. I often let Bryce scribble on paper while Hunter is doing his homework next to him, but B thinks that sitting on the table gives him a better viewpoint of his artwork. Maybe it does!

During a wave of spring cleaning, I cleaned out and organized our craft supplies. I found an ink pad at the back of one of the drawers and decided that it shouldn't be in there. I put it on the top of the organizer to return to later. As Mommy Syndrome dictates I didn't return and it stayed there until I saw it some time later in the black hands of Bryce who was standing in the living room fussing at it with lips, teeth and a tongue as black as our lab! Not only that, but on the floor were two little ink foot prints. Now you might be asking, what were Tim and I doing while our child was eating black ink? Tim was watching TV and I was reading a book...B was right behind Tim and behind the table from me. That just goes to show you how quick and silent they can be! I think he may have shook the craft organizer trying to get a drawer open and knocked the ink off the top. I can't say where I was when that went down. I plead Mommy Syndrome.

And the last thing one should know when spending time with my Bryce is not to using a scolding voice when he's holding something hard, like a baseball! If he knows he's not supposed to have it or thinks you're going to take it from him, he'll throw it. He's Tim's boy and brother to Devin, so he throws surprisingly well and his force and aim is just right for knee height of a woman my size! (Bring your shin guards, grandma!)

Now, you might think B is sounding like a handful, but his brother is almost two years older and about a head taller. First I'll says he says the cutest things like, Let's rock and You're going down while playing pirates with his dad. After seeing me snacking on a couple small candies from Hunter's school Valentine's Day party, he brought another piece of candy to me and said, I brought you something. Can you open it for me? He can surprise you with hug requests and knows how to compliment, but what's the opposite of a sweet child?

Dev whines A LOT these days. He hollers no and cries over simple matters and has been spending time alone in his bedroom or on his bottom with his back to a wall. Hunter said the other night that Dev may hold the record for the world's biggest whiner!

When he's not whining, he goes up and down on the pee pee coaster. Sometimes he's eager to run to the toilet and use it like a big boy, and sometimes he screams and cries. I tried making it a game, like how many times can we give Mr. Potty our pee to drink and watch him swallow it down like a whirl pool. It worked great the first few days, but not so much any more. Before he would tell us when he was poopy, but now he doesn't and when we find out, he throws a fit and tries to run away. But when he does create those small bubbles he aims to pop, he is one happy little boy and eager to slap out some high fives.

And then there's our open floor plan. Our living room and dining room are together in a rectangular shape with a kitchen separated by an island that is like the tip of an arrow. It leaves plenty of room to run around in circles, which the littlest man of the house loves to do. Devin has been running circles around B for a long time, but now, Bryce is running too and soon they'll be making risky passes like Nascar drivers. Right now, though, Dev wants to crash like a race car, but the one he wants to see crash is Bryce. They'll be running in circles, Bryce leading the way laughing the entire time, when Dev will come up behind him and make his move. He puts his hands on his back and gives a little push. Usually nothing terrible happens. Bryce falls down, catching himself on hands and belly, still giggling, maybe a little gasp. But sometimes Dev gives a little bit harder push or Bryce falls on a toy or maybe Dev pushes him at the wrong place in their track like he did last week, when B fell face first into the short wall of the kitchen island. His nose was immediately bloody and cheeks streaked with tears. Devin was quick to apologize and he's been better about keeping his hands off his brother. I'd holler at him about it, had him sit on his butt enjoying nothing when I catch him, but it wasn't until I told him about what blood is and that it really hurts when you bleed that Dev took it easy with Bryce. He still pushes at his brother, but it's in the living room area, the widest part of their personal race track and not around the walls. Still he needs to be reminded and although they are having fun and it makes me smile, accidents happen.

He had a great time with a couple of sticker books. The have now been tossed out because he would stick and peel off and stick back on and peel back off until the stickers would fall out and to the floor as he walked with the book. We found stickers on our socks, on the seats of our jeans, stuck to the top of the dogs head and Kit was seen doing a little dance to get one off her foot before she tore at it with her teeth (brings back memories of my dad putting tape on the cat's feet. He did it first, Kath. Honest!). I thought I collected all the stickers but I still find some in the clean laundry or stuck to a toy.

I'm looking forward to the warmer weather. More trips to the playground, but on cold and rainy days, a trip to the soft playground in the mall is great entertainment. The last time we went Dev followed around one little girl with curly blonde hair. I tried to get a picture, but they were moving too fast. He never really said anything and she didn't mind the attention!

Even though Hunter is in school all day, it doesn't mean you can't take my place yelling at him when he's home. :) OK. Don't yell at him because he thinks he has to get up so darn early to catch the school bus. Your an early riser, Kath, so you'll probably stay up with him. Me, I rise slowly to make sure he has his lunch and he's not wearing his dad's pants and then I crawl back into my warm bed. So if you want to go back to sleep, go for it!

Don't yell at him when he gets distracted by his brothers while trying to do his homework or by his own pencil or fingers. If he wants to do the homework in his bedroom, that's fine, but please do check on his progress or a 20 minute assignment can turn into an hour.

I know you wouldn't yell at him unless he was in danger or putting someone else in danger, but when was the last time you yelled at a kid? My sisters and I haven't been under your roof in years, I won't say how many, but a long time! I know you're out of practice, so, please do yell at him if he plays a computer game that is inappropriate for his younger brother, who likes to be with him after school. Please do holler when he swings back at Devin for hitting him. It's actually great that he's not sitting there and taking it like he has in the past, but I'd rather not have them getting into fist fights when they are still so young! And do scold him when he hesitates to the question, Have you brushed your teeth? Of course, if you feel the need to yell at him or any of my boys for other reasons or to hug them just because, please do so. :) (But do remember what I said about Bryce holding something hard!)

One more thing about Hunter before I sign off is this: He takes a spelling test every Friday. I can count on one hand how many times he's gotten two or more wrong. Even though he sees his great scores and he hears praises from us at home and his teacher at school, he didn't have the confidence to participate in the spelling B. He said he didn't want to be up in front of the whole school, and I can understand that part! Anyone have any suggestions on what I can do to help him get the courage to join his classmates in an event like this? I know he would have done very well.

Apparently I'm not getting any email and haven't been able to send out using my account for some time. Hopefully I can get my site back up and running soon! I know you all can't wait to lay your eyes on some good looking boys! :)

Hope everyone is well!