Late last month, J began 8th grade. He's also busy with soccer, the end of the season at the intergenerational garden, catching up on past seasons of Lost, and the beginning of the soccer season. He's also doing quite a lot of painting (post to come), and continues to beg for a fabulous camera like Aunt Katie's.
JJ began 6th grade in public school and has adjusted marvelously. As expected, he enjoys an easy and fun social life. He finds the academic work very doable, although at times not very stimulating. Both boys enjoyed the local blues festival last weekend, where JJ purchased these distinctive shades. He's playing travel and recreational soccer, and continues to be dedicated to our trusty trampoline out back.
So, I'm still waiting for my new battery charger to come in the mail. The charger was one of a few move-related losses. I'm sure it's going to turn up, but in the meantime, no camera?? I don't think so. Since I have nothing new, here's my annual favorite Easter joke for your amusement.
In other camera news, we bought J a new camera yesterday, as well as some slacks, nice shirt, and casual shoes, so that he will be ready for his big trip to D.C. with Grammy. Over the past several months they've discussed visiting many different places and I'm not sure exactly what's been settled on.
Since December, JJ has endured a dramatic emotional rollercoaster over a highly anticipated video game. Super Smash Bros. Brawl has been finally released after two very long postponements. For 3+ months, we counted the days - he, because he was counting, and I, because double-checked with me daily how much longer we had to wait. It didn't arrive as expected from Amazon for several days, at which point we finally decided to buy it at a local store and return the Amazon order. We all exhaled with relief that the game was here and the build-up was over. Sleepless nights could end (not kidding!).
But no. The game would not work in the Wii - it had some kind of common problem that needed fixing in order to play this game. J had to send the Wii and game back to Nintendo (at Nintendo's cost) and get it repaired. He had another week to wait. Fortunately, Nintendo was fast and offered detailed tracking of the progress of the repair and the shipping. We stalked the tracking site. At 11:04 am on Friday, he checked the site, which said the package had been delivered at 10:56am. He checked the porch, and voila!
Do you think this story is over? Oh no. The game worked for about an hour. Then the Wii was knocked off the table and it no longer played any games. It was looking like the Wii would have to be sent for repair again. J and his sleepover friend rented a movie and consoled themselves. The next morning, sleepover friend came dashing up the stairs announcing "IT WORKS NOW!" In typical weird-technology fashion, the Wii decided it would now work, and it has worked since. I hesitate to say this, but it looks like the saga might actually be coming to a close.
We went to the Col. Zoo - my first time to that zoo, and the big boys' second time. It was a perfect weather day and not crowded. There were some sad animals - we always have some ambivalence about zoos, but many seemed really happy and some were just totally fascinating.
We decided not to leave home, though. It is the Scott Family Hotel we're at, where no one does dishes (paper), older children have late bedtimes, adults play video games with kids, and we eat a lot of sugar late at night. We also went to the Columbus Zoo yesterday - more on that with pictures soon. Today, I'm hoping to find the right cable for connecting our new GPS to the computer so we can try out geocaching.
Saturday began with a birthday party for R to attend at the local dairy. He had a good time, and only made it twice to the cake before I could get there and prevent his grabbing a piece off. He was patient. Cake is the reason God made birthdays, you know.
Next we drove to Cincinnati for big picture time at the park. A friend of K came to do some professional photos for a song, because he's still learning. The kids were all marvelously cooperative, with just a few brief lapses. It was over quickly and we went to my brother's for food (delicious, D!) and another cake. At one point D put on Laurie Berkner and the 5 cousins in their matching white tees were dancing around madly, with the two babies looking on. It was a scene.
Finally, we drove home to YS and visited with DOS and Grandpa, and the Sheridans. It was a very nice visit with more fabulous food and many children. Here is E with her 6th (and she's only 30!). It was a pleasure to visit with someone who made no incredulous comments about our 4-kid family; who was, indeed, totally unimpressed. ;-)
Ryan made a friend with #5 - they walked around like this for most of the evening.
This may be one of those posts you only read if you were in dallas with us, or have an odd interest in other people's not-that-interesting vacation pictures and stories.
Leaving at the Dayton airport was difficult. They managed to make the process of checking bags even LESS streamlined than ever. We had to drag our (10) checked pieces of luggage to a desk to get tagged, and then drag them back to another station where they load them on to a conveyer belt. We were dealing with two carseats and a small stroller, plus luggage for 6 people including 2 changes of fairly dressy clothes, so. Security was intense! The security people were not happy people. They replied to any basic question or request as though they'd been verbally attacked. At one point I was on the floor in front of a long line of people, with a toddler and baby out of slings/strollers, no shoes, carry-on bags accumulating on the conveyer belt, and someone took Evan across the room so they could dig through our toy bag. It was overwhelming, to say the least.
The flight was cramped and long; K did not sleep, only fussed. Ryan was antsy and wouldn't keep his belt on. We were met at the Dallas airport by Grammy, a very happy sight for everyone. She drove us through downtown Dayton to our hotel without missing a single turn. Props to The Grammy.
K did a lot of this. He quite fell in love with that adorable baby in the mirror.
On Friday morning, K woke me up at 6am, and we headed downstairs for the very nice supply of coffee breakfast buffet. I drank and did some knitting while K watched the downtown traffic from his stroller. After everyone else was up, we hopped on the bus (the DART) and visited Fair Park, which is a collection of museums, a few places to eat and some nice outdoor gardens, lake, etc.
And inside, were some very sharp teeth!
Afterward, we had lunch at a really bizarre interesting restaurant. We had a ball enjoying the decor and visiting with our very kind and charming waiter, JD (even though he looked at all the kids and asked Evan "don't you know what causes that?" - har har.)
We waited patiently, soaking up all the extra time with Daddy.
The rehearsal dinner was fun (not counting the small panic we had when Ryan ate a strawberry, and later body-slammed knocked down a 1-year-old little girl with an enthusiastic hug). The food was fabulous and the space in the room was good for the kids to be able to get up and run around (thanks to the Grammy planner for this arrangement).
That night, reality set in for Ryan, who was until then excited about the whole plane, wedding, texas idea. He wanted to go home, and he wanted it all night long. Sleep was not a really big part of this trip, but like I said, the coffee was just an elevator ride away.
The next day was wedding day, and what a beautiful wedding it was. I don't think I've ever seen another bride beam like Caryn was beaming. The ceremony was lovely, Auntie Beth sang marvelously, R (!!!) sat still and mostly watched, and K slept in the sling. At this point, it was the kids' bedtime, and we were all rather done with travel, but were off to the reception. Personally, I was hoping everyone would rise to the occasion and enjoy the party. One of mine and one of the cousins were not doing well, ready to get out of the noise and chaotic festivity. They stuck it out for a while and then we said our goodbyes. They were real goodbyes, because we were off to the airport at 6am the next morning.
Grandpa, sweet cousins P and R, both very big fans of the Grandpa Bear.
Today we met Dani and her mother Zuleka (sp?), Grace, Isaac, Katie, Clover, Fynn, and Audrey at the big playground in Wilmington. It's a fantastic climbing structure which was great for Ryan. The kids had a ball in the sand and on the swings. It was wonderful to see Daniela's mother again. She is so warm and generous.
The babies were pretty hot and fussy, so we left a little sooner than planned to get some fast food and let the kids run around in the air-conditioned play place. We met Nana, Mimps and Grandma, who were anxious to get a second look at Kellen. He's changed a lot since that first week when they last saw him. Kellen wasn't wildly impressed with the noise level in that play place, but he was fairly settled in the sling if I walked him a bit with my hand over his exposed ear! Halfway home, I had to change him because his poopy diaper was making him fussy. As soon as he was back in the seat, you know this is coming... he pooped again. We made it home, though.
Jamie and Jeremiah are extremely helpful in the car-ride routine. Jeremiah helps Ryan get buckled in, and Jamie is dedicated to helping Kellen stay soothed.
It's never boring to see the cousins together. For those who don't know, they are: 11, 9, 5, 3, 2, 2, 2, 5mos and 1 month
On Friday we met all the cousins, grandma, dad and Katie at Skyline, the family favorite. The day was uneventful - Ryan even took a nap with Clover so the drive home was peaceful (thanks in part to Winnie the Pooh and car-DVD players). Katie gave me a huge pile of maternity clothes, I worked on Clapotis and got sleepy on her sofa as usual, and the 2-year-olds only fought slightly over the pink care bear.
Yesterday, we watched Olympics, I shopped (with no success) for a baby gate wide enough to block the kitchen, Jamie won his FOURTH soccer game in a row - undefeated! - and we attended the grand opening of the Mermaid Cafe. My friend and owner of the local book shop just added a big coffee counter to her store, and the place was full of friends and kids and goodies.
Today, I took Ryan to children's hour at the Dharma Center and we went for brunch at Young's Dairy with Bill and Dorothy. Ryan was so pleasant, we all actually had an enjoyable meal. We never know which Ryan we're bringing when we go to a restaurant.
Presently, Ryan and Evan are napping and I'm headed in to work on Dainty Bess. Here she is, so far (Lori, this is that yarn I told you about that I dyed and knit one sock from):