Monday, December 3, 2007

Throwing rocks

We were in the beautiful Ozarks for our Thanksgiving holiday where my parents own some property close to RB's family. We stayed in what my family lovingly calls "the shack," a little cabin that was existing when they purchased the land. Despite the chilling weather- thanks to an old wood burning stove- we were all toasty warm (the shack also now has new walls, a fully functioning bathroom, washer/dryer, seven beds, and a satellite- a regular hunting paradise). Here are a few pictures RB took of the rather scenic remains of some of the other original buildings still standing... barely.

We all had a great time there and despite the late nights, Noah still managed to rise at the break of dawn each day. I couldn't figure out where he was getting all his energy until I discovered his little secret...
After that, Grammy was willing to keep a close eye on him to make sure there was no more mischief.
Calvin was introduced to the 4-wheelers, again. Up until not too long ago, he was deathly afraid of them and their "too loud engines." Now, for better or worse, there was no fear. His uncles, aunt, and grandpa were all happy to drive him around to his heart's content. They even showed him a few tricks that will probably come back to haunt me someday.

This is how you scare your mom...
this is how you jump...
and this is how you die...
Along with the safety-first theme, Calvin also discovered the hereditary love of artillery-from both sides of the family. Grandpa and RB were all too willing to show him exactly what to do with a gun.

Fortunately there were other distractions besides the guns and ATV's. I've realized how much money we've wasted on toys! All both boys wanted to do was play in the dirt and throw rocks into the river. They honestly could have spent all day out there, just throwing rocks. I must be missing something. Luckily, with Christmas right around the corner, a big pile of rocks and dirt fits right within our budget.

One of our favorite things about this trip was that Thanksgiving dinner and the annual, pre-feast football game were able to be enjoyed with both families together. Calvin was in heaven with all of his grandparents, aunts, and uncles (sorry Any) in one place .

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

What happened here?

There once was a time when Calvin's sweet little not-so-on-pitch voice was a joy to hear...

Fast-forward another year and a half and it's a slightly different story. He gets pretty worked up about the whole process. I think Noah's face is classic.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Things I thought I'd never see: Part 1

It only took 3 years and about 4 months to see Calvin finally at a loss for words. A few months ago Calvin accompanied me to the very prestigious Great Clips so I could get my hair cut. The highlight of his experience was easily the big bowl of suckers by the cashier. The answer to the old tootsie-pop question about how many licks it takes to get to the middle... - the answer is exactly $9 worth of hair technician's work.

Today I made the trek back to be made presentable, again with mini-me at my side. He chattered the whole way in the car about which color sucker he was going to pick out and how 'yummy' it was going to be. We got inside and his eyes fixated on his prize. In an effort to keep him preoccupied, I told him that he couldn't open his lollipop until it was my turn to 'get my itchies off.'

Some random guy walked then into the salon, checked in, grabbed a sucker, and sat down a few seats away from Calvin - who, now aware that there had been a breach in protocol - pointed his finger at the perpetrator and exclaimed that 'he was being a bad boy because he wasn't waiting to eat is sucker.' As the guy laughed and said something about being sorry for setting a bad example, the girl who was just finishing her haircut paid and walked right out the door. Calvin about lost it. 'DADDY, DADDY she didn't get her sucker!' He had jumped down off his chair and started to chase her towards her car before I was able to grab him and tell him that not everybody wanted suckers. He was stunned, and just sort of stared off in disbelief. The incident reminded me of a stand-up routine I had heard of Jerry Seinfeld on a kid's perception of Halloween.

Calvin got his sucker (neon blue), and I had the pleasure of seeing - for just a moment - Calvin completely speechless.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Proud moments in fatherhood

Calvin is special. This feeling was reaffirmed when we arrived to a local Halloween party and saw the other children in their costumes. Girls were either princesses or fairies, and all of the other little boys were superheroes, cowboys, pirates, various animals, or pro-athletes.
Then there was Calvin... the giant snowball.

We still haven't a clue where Calvin found this inspiration (especially after a long, hot summer), but he was adamant about his decision. RB and I tried our hardest to sway him, offering a cool new cowboy hat, light saber or pirate's sword if he would reconsider - but his mind was made up. A preview of things to come occurred at gymnastics a few weeks ago:

Calvin was sitting in a circle with the 10 other children in his class. This was the final day of gymnastics, so all the parents were invited to sit inside the gym as well. Before every class his teachers ask a question that all the kids answer in turn and today it was, "what do you want to be when you grow up?" Knowing our son, I was definitely curious about what Calvin would say. After hearing the first few responses, "doctor," "singer," "fireman," ... repeat ... I assumed that he would follow and pick one of the apparently popular answers. Calvin's response- as usual- caught me and everyone else off guard as he stated,
"When I grow up I'm going to be a giant snowball."

After making sure they had heard him correctly and waiting for the suppressed laughter from the other parents to stop, the kind teachers both smiled and wished him luck.

Luckily, Noah doesn't talk. That meant that we could make him anything we wanted. Given his figure, complexion, and uncontrollable sweet tooth, we both decided that he would make the perfect Hansel (unfortunately there was no Gretel to go with him).

We're pretty sure he liked our idea.


One of Calvin's costume stipulations was that he have actual snowballs to throw at people. After much debate, he finally accepted the fact that it was impossible that they be made of real snow.

This is a special sweater- given to RB as a baby from his Grandma Jones from when she lived in Norway.

(Our sweet little Hansel would only sit still if he had a grape in his mouth.)

Apparently snowballs don't travel well in car seats.

The Halloween party's costume parade was an especially enjoyable time. As the superheroes, fairies, and Calvin marched by, we tried not to laugh and wondered what he'll have in store for us next year.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Hocking Hills

Cedar Falls at Hocking Hills
Since we were able to have Aunt Mary stay the week with us, we decided to show her some of Ohio's beauty. So after all the shopping mall trips, pedicures, and manicures, we decided to change things up and go hiking around Hocking Hills (Well, as close to hiking as you can get in Ohio anyway). It truly is one of the most beautiful trails I have ever seen and for the most part [to be explained later] we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

Calvin taking a breather against some rocks- he preferred to hike at an easy jog's pace so it was a well deserved rest.
(Notice the clean pants and sweatshirt.)

While Noah objected to not being allowed to hike on his own, we felt it best that he was carried.

Our turning point. If you look closely, you can see that Calvin is now completely covered in mud. Due to some unfortunate events, Calvin managed to find and enjoy a mudslide during his sporadic sprints while hiking. As everyone knows, it is extremely uncomfortable to walk in crusted, muddy clothes especially when it is only 50 degrees out and windy. So not surprisingly, Calvin decided that he could go no further and insisted on being carried the two mile trek back to the car. (Never mind us not ever making it to the scenic destination spot at the end of the trail.) So that left RB to carry Calvin, I had Noah who by this time had fallen asleep in my arms, and Mary was left with the heavy pack and camera.

Judging from this picture, it isn't hard to guess if Mary's favorite part of the trip was the nature hike or the shopping.:) Still, she was a trooper and helped haul the heavy backpack and babies all the way back to the car.

Eventually we made it back and though we were all relieved to put down our chubby/heavy loads, no one was as happy as Calvin when he stripped down to his Thomas the tank engine underwear and hopped into the car.

It was so nice to have Aunt Mary stay with us. As always, she was an amazing help to me and the boys just love her. Even Noah, who never talks, learned to say her name- bringing up the word count to a grand total of four. (That's including the panting dog noise that his Dr. says counts because it's a form of language.) Mary, we miss you already!

testosterone spike

Aunt Mary, Uncle Sidney, Uncle Willie, and Oma

When "the bus" rolled in to our place, Calvin was beside himself. He absolutely loves all of his aunts, uncles, and grandparents. They represent non-stop entertainment, no naps, and late bedtimes. Even though it was a short visit, Calvin and Noah made the most of it and are still trying to adjust back to the boring life with just mommy and daddy.

With Calvin and Uncle Willie, it's always hard to determine exactly when the hug becomes a strangle hold.

Calvin was introduced to a new big boy movie- TMNT (the new animated teenage mutant ninja turtles). During an especially loud scene, I came in to find Calvin and Willie frozen behind the coffee table. When I asked Calvin if he wanted me to turn it off, he answered with a shaky voice, eyes still glued to the tv: "No mom, this is a big boy show. It's too scary for you. I'm brave."

Uncle Sid is always a good sport when it comes to playing with the little guys, but RB enjoyed his company too since it meant that he had a xbox partner now whenever he could find a spare minute to play. Sidney's memorable quote of the trip: "Why is it that the only things girls ever talk about are clothes and food?"
Sadly, there was a little too much truth to that for me to really argue the point.

Being around his uncles really brings out Calvin's manly side.
Uncle Willie and Sidney always have lots of helpful things to teach him that I cannot. For instance, Calvin now knows the power ranger stance and what a light saber is and how to use one on an unsuspecting target- like myself or Noah. His new favorite game to play is "Tackle-Wrestle" which is a whole lot of fun when the uncles and RB are around, but not so much when it's just, once again, Noah and me. The other change I've noticed is his fixation on hunting. Normally when I ask Calvin what he wants to do he replies with one of the following: "go to the park," " zoo," or "library." He now says, "Mom I need to go hunting and shoot some elk. Then I'll take out the elk meat and we can eat it." He obviously doesn't understand what this actually entails, because he told RB a week or two ago that he would find an elk to shoot and that tomatoes would come out, and that we'd then have tomatoes to eat. I guess it's sweet that he feels the desire to provide for our family, right?

Saturday, October 13, 2007

get your own pumpkins...

Calvin and Noah have been experiencing pumpkin envy. Every time we go on a walk, they go up and gently touch each one they see sitting on our neighbors' porches, and Calvin mumbles about getting one of his very own. After hearing good things about Lynd's Fruit farm, only "about thirty minutes" away[RB edit - this was passed on to me as being "just on Morse Road" - implying an even closer destination], I decided that we would all have a great time picking apples and pumpkins from one of our local Ohio farmers.

Remaining true to form, complications with a few minor details in my directions took us on a lovely hour-plus long scenic drive through the outskirts of Columbus. After stopping only twice for directions, we eventually made it. Despite the chilly temperature, upon arrival the apples were bright and within reach and the pumpkins were plentiful and plump. Calvin learned that apples really do grow on trees and Noah continued his study on The Edible Outdoors.

I choose this one.

slightly enthused

our harvest

Finding the largest one in the entire patch, Calvin finally gave this pumpkin his seal of approval.

After finally deciding which two pumpkins were the best, the boys put up their guard and kept a wary eye on the potential pumpkin-stealing children circling nearby.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Dream fulfilled... thanks Home Depot

Calvin had the best Saturday morning of his life this weekend. (To Noah, everyday is the best day.) We just discovered that the friendly folks at Home Depot host a free kids workshop once a month. Included are the always cool orange aprons, a ready to assemble wooden toy kit, and snacks. This month's project happened to be a fire engine- Calvin's new fascination- and so they invited the local fire department as well. I'll let the pictures tell the rest of this dream come true for the boys, but it was a fun time for all and we even made it back home for the morning session of conference.

Here the boys are trying to figure out where to start. Noah chose the glue- easiest to digest.
Calvin chose the hammer- greatest threat to everyone's safety.

Concentration at it's greatest... good thing RB doesn't have any future plans riding on those fingers.

Fatigued from the manual labor, Noah sits back and enjoys his well deserved granola bar.

Calvin kept his game face on through to the very last swing of the hammer.

Now to check out the real thing...

Calvin is amazed at the similarities between his newly created fire truck and the real thing. His is better, he quickly informs us.

This truly is a dream come true- every time we pass a fire engine, Calvin always asks if he can drive it. Now I won't have to crash a preschool field trip to the fire station.


Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Calvin the mascot

Calvin hit the big time when named official mascot of our intramural soccer team this summer. It was a big break for him as he's been trying to latch on to a team for some time now. He spent most of his time heckling opponents, yelling for the "good team" to run faster and not mess up, and stealing whomever's gatorade or girlfriend happened to be in his vicinity on the sidelines.

Coaches/mascots get thirsty, too

It was a long hard road for Calvin, which involved a few late nights, a very intriguing marching band practice on an adjacent field, and one minor collision near the touch line (Calvin quickly let everyone know that he was ok because he was a "big boy").

We, with our favorite little 3 year old prancing along the sidelines, were finally able to nab the league's coveted t-shirts.

Football season is around the corner, and Calvin has been perfecting his stiff arm, spin move, and open field tackling just in case...