Thursday, October 29, 2009

We're 4!

You know what they say about "the best laid plans"....well it was definitely true this year for the boys' 4th birthday party. Honestly every single year when it comes time for us to decide what to do for their birthday party we always talk about wanting to do something outdoors. Every single year we opt not to because we always think "what if it pours? then what?". And every single year [up until this year] the weather is always gorgeous. I mean its the most perfect fall weather on the day of the party. So this year, we had heard about this great farm from our friends Rusty and Andrea where you could pet all the farm animals, ride horses, and do all the other cool farm stuff that little boys dream of. So we thought, let's just go for it!
Don't you know the weather was awful. Unseasonably cold, wet and rainy. And at first we were all a little disappointed that things had to be rearranged because that meant that all of our family - who all live out of town - wouldn't be able to come to the farm.

But we rolled with the punches, and I have to say that things turned out perfectly. We ended up having more time to spend with our families than we would have, and basically the boys got to celebrate for the whole weekend. Who wouldn't love that??

Since it was super cold and rainy we couldn't take the kids to do anything fun outside, but instead we took them to the Jump Zone where we all played and had a good time. Then we came home for some lunch, GiGi's cupcakes and presents. Sadly, these are the only pictures we got of our time with all the family here. We'll have to do better over the upcoming holidays. Here are the boys opening up their presents and Cousin Dresi helping.
We definitely made the right decision to postpone the party by one day because the next evening was just perfect. The farm wasn't even that muddy considering all the rain we'd had. We had a bonfire for everyone to roast hotdogs and smores, there was a playground, sheep to pet, two of the cutest sweetest pigs wandering around hoping to steal your food and an arena where they all got to ride horses till their hearts' content. It really was so much fun.

Here is Tricia putting helmets on everyone and teaching them about how to ride. After each of the kids rode the horse, she taught them each how to lead. Here is Brax leading Xander.Even all the little ones got to ride as much as they wanted (even if they couldn't keep the helmets on). Owen got a little extra help from his Daddy.Martha Ann, Daisy, Ben and Josh down at the sheep pen.Time for a cheetoh breakCousin Becca and BeBe roasting hotdogs.

Beautiful baby Brenna and her beautiful mommy.Looking down from the arenaThen - as if all that wasn't enough - Tricia took all the kids into the stables and they all got to paint the ponies! She wrote "Happy Birthday Ben and Drew" on it, and they all got to paint him as much as they want and put their handprints on him. They all LOVED it. All that was left to do after that was take a picture with the pony and Patrick the pig. That was a little difficult since Ben doesn't like to be the center of anyone's attention and certainly doesn't want his picture made. So this picture doesn't have him in it. But with a little coercion he let Miss Tricia hold him for one group picture with all his buddies. Here they are each blowing out four candles.And here they are licking all the icing off all the props on the cake.I thought we were all done with all the excitement, but Tricia went way above and beyond for all these sweet kiddos and pulled out little horse-sticks for each of the kids to pretend to ride on in the arena.

Once it finally all came together it turned out to be a really special day. Drew and Ben had been looking forward to their farm party for weeks and would ask every single morning if it was the day for their party yet. They loved every minute of it and we were so happy to watch them enjoy it so much.

Ben and Drew, may you always know how much your Daddy and I love you and how lucky we feel to be your parents. You both bring us so much joy, laughter and love. Our prayer for you on your birthday is the same as it is every day: thank you Jesus for Ben and Drew and may they live a long life of love for You.

First forray into organized sports

One of our favorite things to do after we clean up the kitchen from dinner every night is to divide up into teams and we "play" soccer in our upstairs den. A good game can easily last for half an hour or more, and its become something that the four of us love to do together. So this year, when we realized that they were old enough to begin playing soccer with the Y league we thought they would both really have a fun thing to do on Saturdays AND it would be a great way to introduce them to team sports.

A few weeks before the first game we got an email saying that our team needed a coach, so Michael volunteered to do it. I mean, how hard could it be, right? After all, they're 4 year olds. So, we had a couple of practices before our first game, and those both went surprisingly better than I ever dreamed. They listened to what Michael told them to do and tried their best and seemed to have fun. And then....we had the first real game. And that was another story entirely.
So he huddled them up, and the team decided their team name should the "The Swipers" (you know, from Dora). He had tried to explain to them the concept of the two teams of four running after the ball and trying to kick it into the goal. But I guess that felt much different than our nights of playing two-on-two in the den. Because that first game there were many tears over not getting to kick the ball in the goal and falling down, a little bit of timidity when lots of other unknown boys started running towards them, and generally not wanting to play on the field at all. Thankfully, we had a little boy on our team who had played the previous year, and he knew just what to do. He was our star player for the first couple of games, and then all the rest of the boys caught the hang of it. We had several games rained out, but once we started playing them again, they seemed to really enjoy it. Drew was hilarious and went after the ball every time he was on the field, cheering for all his buddies. Ben, very true to his nature, took a little while to get used to the idea of the game. When it was his turn to be on the field he ran right next to Daddy the whole time, cheered for his teammates, and avoided the ball (and any attention). I think that he finally did kick the ball once during the last few minutes of the last game. The way the Y has this age group set up is really great for introducing kids to the game. They don't have goalies, they don't keep score, every body on the sidelines cheers for all the kids, and at the end of every game all the kids get to run through a little tunnel made by the parents while we cheer for them. (But just so you know, we did win every game by a ton of goals....they were little star athletes, all of them, and - even though they didn't know it - they were by far better than any of the other teams we played. And no, I'm not biased at all.)We got to make a few new friends that we really enjoyed getting to know.......but one of the best parts for Ben and Drew was getting to play on the same team as Brax. (Doesn't he look so tough waiting for the ball here? Yes, that is a black eye he's sporting here. But its from an unrelated incident. That's another story for another day....more in the next post.)One of the best parts for Michael and I was getting to spend our Saturday mornings hanging with our good friends Josh and Darci...and any of the other spectators that came out for some good entertainment (BeBe, Jeff, Aaron, Bobber and we can't forget Brody).I confess, I stole this picture from Darci's camera. But I just couldn't resist putting it on here because it was just so cute. A little good-luck booty bump from a buddy.And a good-luck-hug-turned-wrestling-match on the soccer field followed by lots of laughing.
And what sporting event would be complete without your very own trophy? They were SO proud and thought they were pretty big showing those off.
And here's our team from left to right: Cooper, Jayden, Ben, Michael, Drew, Jackson and Brax. I've never had so much fun cheering on my three favorite guys. Luckily they really enjoyed playing, so I think this was the first of many chances to be their cheerleader and biggest fan.

First Spend-the-Night Party!

So, Michael's busiest travel times are during the spring and fall. And I figured that while he was away on one of his trips to China, that that would be the perfect time for a spend the night party with one of their best buddies Brax.

They were so excited! We made a special trip to Target and I told them they could each pick out one thing that they wanted to share with him (I'll just say that the three of them polished off one whole box of cereal straws in less than 24 hours, and leave it at that) and we came back to get the house ready. We worked to transform their bedroom floor into a bed for the three of them to share. They chose 5 (yes, FIVE) blankets to lay down for the palate to make sure it was "comfy enough" and chose two favorite movies to watch (which we didn't watch at all because there was so much else to play with and do.)

Here are a few of the before-bedtime pictures I took:

The three macho tough guys with all of their loveys that none of them can sleep without. So adorable!I will say I was prepared for the worst - crying at bedtime, up all night, maybe even some fighting over toys. But none of that happened. In fact, it was so much fun I told Darci and Josh that I wasn't sure why I hadn't thought of this before. It was really the best of all worlds: something fun and special to pass the time while Daddy's away for us, and a small break for Josh and Darci.

Maybe next time I'll be brave enough to invite Brody too!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Gone Fishin'!

Right before school began we took one last quick trip down to Mimi and Pop's house for a quick weekend visit to wrap up the summer. Since the day we found out Michael and I were having boys, my dad has dreamed of the taking his grandsons fishing. It was something that he and his daddy always did together, and even something that he and Granddaddy enjoyed taking Brittany and I to do too. So we went and got them their very own "big boy" fishing poles, lures and tackle boxes and ventured to some good friends' house from church.

They have a really good sized pond behind their house, complete with a pier, canoes, rope swing and slide. We baited our hooks, cast them out and it didn't take long for the fishies to start biting. Here Michael shows them each how to wait for just the right moment to reel them in. And here Pop lets them see their first catch They never pass up a chance to run at full speed and play outside
We all had so much fun! Thanks to the Lassiters for being so hospitable and sharing your pond with us. We had such a great time, and made some special memories...both for the boys and for Pop.