Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Public Enemy #1 and Toughness

Public Enemy Number 1 - deadly crafting snakes
Ben at football camp
Alex at football camp
The babies attentively learning during speech therapy
Ben getting his "worship on" at VBS last week

Behold these slithering creatures pictured above. Our latest nursing staff dismissal was due to these wooden snakes that I purchased at Hobby Lobby as art projects for the boys. Long story short, every time she'd come and we accidentally hadn't pick up the vicious snakes, she would threaten to leave. After the 3rd time of threatening to leave and shutting herself into our walk-in pantry and calling the agency telling them she would no longer stay here if the snakes were not put away, we did our final snake sweep.

I apologized to her and ushered her out of the pantry telling her that any snakes left out of the toy baskets are not intentionally left to frighten her. She did not accept my apology and she said that the boys intentionally leave the snakes out scare her. I explained that sometimes in a household with 4 kids, not all the toys always get put away neatly. She wouldn't budge. So we just asked her to leave and we haven't asked for her back. It's sad because she has been with us since day one, but nobody can walk into our home and accuse our boys of being malicious. I'll admit, Ben and Alex are all kinds of goofy & crazy, but they aren't mean spirited... so she just had to go.

On a lighter note, the boys are in day 2 of football camp. The first day, after 3 hours in the heat and being motivated by coaches that didn't want to coddle them, they came to my car crying and saying how "mean" the coaches were. After I explained that football camp at the high school isn't for playing patty cake or ring around the rosy, they went to camp on Day 2 with a better attitude. No tears this time and they felt proud of the drills they did and the compliments they got from the coaches from working hard. A little bit of tough talking didn't hurt anybody, and I'm glad they aren't letting the boys go soft out there on the football field. We can leave the snuggling and patty-cake for the privacy of our own home :).

Ben and Alex have taken a particular interest over the past week in playing with the babies (more than usual), and it just makes us so happy to watch their interaction. They play catapult with Dori (basically throwing things in his direction and watching him roll over and get it... not as violent as it sounds!). They also like to make Dori their parrot -- telling him things and listening him repeat it. They get a big kick out of that! And they love to make Wynnie laugh by running around him. The babies have a great time, Ben and Alex have a great time, and it's just really neat to see them bond.

I'm reading Tim Tebow's book "Through My Eyes" and its soooo good!!! If you don't know his story and his background, you gotta check it out. I got a neat tip from what his mom used to do with them. She would give them "character points" anytime he and his siblings would get complimented on their behavior by an adult or if they went above and beyond and exemplified solid character. I was so excited to get it started at our home! We announced to the boys that for every 10 Character Points they earn in their allowance jar, they get $10. So for the first evening, there was ALOT of fake character going on.... "Mami you are sooo nice! Mami you are so pretty! Papi, would you like for me to get you a coke from the fridge? You are the best papi I could ever have!!!" All those compliments and offers of fetching stuff got them zero character points -- it wasn't until they forgot about it the next day when Chris took the boys shopping that they began earning them by being polite, and a waitress the next day told me how polite the boys were. Cha ching!! So thank you Mrs Tebow... The idea has been a hit at our house and hopefully they are learning some good values in the process.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Summer Snooping and the Mavs

Mavs locker room
Dori at the golf course
Wynnie at the golf course

As a surprise I took Ben, Alex and Viktoria to the Mavs arena at 7:45 AM on Saturday morning to tour the Mavs facilities in downtown. Our name was drawn from a Mavs watch party we all attended back in May so we had a tour of the practice facilities, the locker room, and the weight room. I think the boys' favorite part was that the players have a lounge area all decked out in black leather recliner "theater" style seats with a huge flat screen and all the video games a kid would ever want. All these months we've been telling them video games turn your brains into mush and the world champion Mavs have proven me wrong. Thanks. They had a real fun time yesterday morning and it was neat to see.

We are big snoops in our house. Alex likes to go through cabinets, drawers, closets and any nook or cranny where he thinks he might find something interesting. I don't know what he has in mind, but he is always snooping around going through things. The other day while I was cooking he was digging through drawers and he stopped and said "Mami, I like being nosey!" and then kept on digging. I said "You know Alex, when I was your age, I used to go through all my parents drawers too." I probably should not have admitted that in retrospect! He just smiled.

In the spirit of snooping, it was 2 hours past Ben and Alex's bedtime, and I could hear them laughing and screaming and occasionally running upstairs. So I sneaked into their bathroom next to their room and just sat there and listened. Alex had his journal out and was interviewing Ben. It went something like this:

"Ben, what's your catch phrase?"
Ben responds "Skate 3!" (the name of his favorite video game)
Alex says "No, it can't be that! A catch phrase is like your favorite thing to say. Like Bugs Bunny's catch phrase is 'What's up Doc'.... get it?"
"Ooh... my favorite catch phrase is 'DUUUDE!' then... what's your's?"
Alex responds "I guess mine is 'What's up Doc' too."
I know that as this is read, it's probably not funny but while I was crouched over in the bathroom listening to this and hearing Alex scribble Ben's response in his journal, it was adorably hilarious to me.

And not to be left behind the snooping department, the babies are right with them. Wynnie has been waking up and not letting the nurses have much of a break in the evenings... all he wants to do is drink milk and chat for as long as he can get away with it, usually for 2-3 hours at times. He just loves the attention. Dorian has also been nocturnal lately. One night he just played and sang and ate starting at 1:00 AM and didn't skip a beat to take a nap until 10:00 AM the following morning after physical therapy. He's also been REALLY active in the rolling around after people. His favorite prank is to roll to the foyer and knock down all the forts and defense soldiers that Ben and Alex have built. If Ben moves him back into the family room, Dori screams at him and scoots and rolls his way right back over and knocks their stuff down right over again. I think Dori loves all the commotion it causes (1) Ben and Alex scream, (2) he hears all the blocks and stuff crash to the wooden floor and (3) he thinks "dude, I did that!". Isn't every little brother supposed to bug his older brother? He takes the job very seriously.

This summer Ben has really endeared himself to Wynnie. Our friends came to visit us last week and Ben wanted them to meet Wynnie, he kept saying "Come over and meet him, he is really really cute! He's really funny!" I think Ben is sweet on Wynnie because Ben can do all his Jerry Lewis antics to him and Wynnie just laughs and laughs at anything Ben does. Who doesn't love an audience?

Chris was out of town all weekend, so I took the older boys to the Japanese steakhouse last night for dinner. When our cook came out, Ben sat up on his knees on his chair and says like a rapper "Let's get this party started!!!" That's pretty much been the theme for us this summer... have fun and get the party started with friends, play dates, camps and everyday celebrations. So far we've had a great summer and I can't believe it's nearly 1/2 over already. ;(

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Happy Independence Day!

Wynnie with his favorite toy
Alex in front of fireworks
Ben striking a Lady Liberty pose
Ben getting a ball at the Rangers game!
Alex and I

Dori giving his Papi lots of kisses Friday at the restaurant

We hope everyone had a restful and fun 4th of July weekend! We had alot of fun with the boys and the babies this weekend, shared in the company of great friends. Dori spent the weekend very affectionate-- kissing and being kissed. Wynnie was in a playful mood all weekend so he had fun playing with his older brothers and the kids that came over to play.

Many thanks to the Devoe family who gave us their tickets to the July 4th Rangers baseball game! Ben got a ball from one of the Orioles players, and then Alex got a ball that Chris caught for him. They were so excited! Alex knew that the Orioles team colors would have black in it because as he stated, "Orioles sounds like Oreos and Oreos are black."

Then after the game we watched an awesome fireworks show from the parking lot. As we drove off the boys rolled down their windows and were telling people "Happy 4th of July!" "Happy Birthday America!" It was cute. Viktoria stayed home with the babies. She and Catherine, the night nurse, took the babies outside to watch our neighborhood fireworks show. Dori didn't like it one bit, and Wynnie didn't care for the heat and humidity so the girls brought them back inside and just watched the fireworks from inside the house. I don't blame them! It was still 95 degrees at 8:00 PM!

As we spent time swimming and playing in the backyard on Saturday, Alex says with a big smile on his face "This is the life!!" How true! Our time spent with friends and neighbors was just what we all needed...a fun and lazy weekend for all. We are very thankful for the peace and happiness we shared with each other this weekend.