Meeting My Nephew!

My sister had our sweet little nephew on April 23.  Graham Thomas is just perfect!!
I got to head out to Rochester a few weeks later to meet him and lend a hand with the new parents-of-two. I had a nice week of visiting, entertaining Parker and of course snuggling sweet baby Graham.

One day Parker and I went to the zoo and out to lunch...

Here's a video of Parker having fun with her 1/2 inflated Dora balloon that Grandma and Grandpa got her...

I am so glad I went - we had such a nice time and I miss those kiddos (and of course Kelly & Greg) already! - but of course I was ready to come home and see these sweet faces.


Jack just wrapped up his first season of t-ball.  He had a really good time.  We signed up through the City of O'Fallon and joined a random team with kids and a coach we didn't know.  Jack was fine with that, but Jason and I had a hard time with the coach.  He was intense.  Not mean, per se (except to his own daughter, to whom he was pretty rotten), but just trying to teach these 4 and 5 year-old kids things that most boys learn in middle school baseball.
Here are some videos from Jack's first game.  Each child gets a single no matter where they hit the ball and no matter if an out is made or not.  The last child of the lineup gets a home run to clear the bases, again no matter where they hit it.  Jack's first game, he was the cleanup batter, so he got home runs at each at bat.

Our other complaint was all the parents in the field.  For some reason at each game, there was about one parent for each kid on the field, plus the base coaches at each base for the batting team.  You couldn't even hardly see the players!  AND several of these parents made a habit of stopping the ball if it came to them, instead of letting their child chase after the ball (which is the point of t-ball, right??) as demonstrated in video #2 above - a parent stopped Jack's hit.  Luckily Jack didn't really notice but Jason and I were pretty ticked off.  They aren't exactly robbing the kids of hits, since each child gets a single no matter where they hit it, but still!!  We were pretty appalled.  Luckily, we saw eye-to-eye with our coach on that issue, as he asked all the parents to stay in the stands about midway through the season.  Unfortunately the other teams did not follow our lead, so there were still adults everywhere.

Regardless, Jack had a fun time playing!!  And the good news is, we're starting a new session next week which Jason is going to coach and we know about 1/2 of the players on the team.  Can't wait!


No More Training Wheels!

On Easter morning, after the egg hunt with our neighbors, Jason had to run up and cut grass at a vet's office.  There's a nice quiet parking lot there, so the boys and I went along so they could ride their bikes.  I managed to convince Jack to let me take his training wheels off (two of our neighbors just made the switch too, which helped my case).  It took a few minutes of me holding onto his seat, but he really got the hang of it quickly.  His bike is very small, so he's easily able to put his feet down when he's in trouble.  I was amazed how quickly he mastered the turns.

A video of the big guy:
So proud of our big boy!!

One last picture.  Here's Charlie when we got home....passed out waiting for me to get lunch ready.  I'd say we had a busy morning!

Happy Easter!

We had a great Easter.  The weather was perfect in St. Louis that weekend, so we got to spend a lot of time outside.  Friday night we got to dye Easter eggs with our neighbors.  Amazingly, there were no major spills or incidents - not that it would've mattered since we strategically did it outside!  (By the way, I promise we didn't leave Charlie at home; he wasn't interested in dying eggs and spent most of the evening across the street shooting hoops.
It was sunny! The boy table: Tyson, Logan, Jack and Jack

Addi and Hayden

Chris and Levi

Mr. Charlie

The silly Jacks

Big shot Drake

Reghan and Addi
We hosted my mom's family on Saturday and had a nice evening.  The boys got to play some soccer with my cousin Bryan, which made their night of course.  We closed off the night with a fire in the fire pit.  Love it!

When we put Charlie to bed he was a little freaked out about the Easter Bunny coming to our house.  I finally told him I'd hang a sign on his door that told the Easter Bunny not to go in his room, after which he rolled over and went immediately to sleep.  I'm telling you, this child is still traumatized by the Fredbird experience.
Sunday morning we had a small egg hunt at our house - the boys loved it!  If you can only watch one video, I recommend #2 - I love watching them get so excited about something as simple as socks!
After we were finished at our house, we headed up to the Minchers' house for our annual neighbor Easter egg hunt.  This is the third year we've done it.  The first year it was just us, the Ashers and the Minchers.  Last year we added the Scallys.  And this year, we know a LOT more of our neighbors.  I think there were a total of 18 kids there!  It was so fun for the kids.  The parents brought 20 eggs per child and all the dads "hid" the eggs behind the Minchers' house.  It's so funny watching the little guys like Charlie and his peers taking their time inspecting each egg they found vs the bigger kids who made a mad dash scooping up as many eggs as they could find.  Everyone had a fun morning - hopefully our tradition will continue for years to come!!

This video isn't too exciting, but at least shows how many kids were there!
In the evening we celebrated with the Claytons.  Grandma Clayton gave each of the kids a new beach towel and goggles.  To say they were a hit would be an understatement.

What a great weekend!!

Friend Birthday Parties

The boys (especially Jack) have been invited to a lot of birthday parties these last few months.  We have tried to go whenever we can fit them in the schedule, and they always have a great time.

One was at Play Your Art Out in Chesterfield Mall.  It was definitely a girl's party - not the typical wild and crazy bouncing and running, but quiet play and painting.  Jack had fun, especially when they said the kids were going to ride the mall train!

Yes, our child towers over most of his classmates....

Side note: I noticed when we got to the mall that Jack had two different shoes on - haha!!

This one was at Kokomo Joe's and had a little bit of everything!  Bouncing, pizza & cake, mini golf and arcade games.  Jack had a lot of fun with his school buddies.  The birthday boy is in his class, but Jack is also good buddies (probably better buddies) with his older brother, so he was excited.  This was also his first mini golf experience.  We look forward to playing again this summer!

We went to our friend Austin's (a.k.a. Ozzy) birthday party at Miss Kelly's Gym, which was formerly a Little Gym, for those who are familiar with that chain.  Always a fun party and LOTS of energy burning!!

Then Charlie was invited to a party at the same place a couple weeks later with his classmates.  Fun!

We've been having lots of fun checking out all these places with our friends.  I learned a little trick from a friend at work for when kids get to this birthday party stage: buy several girl and boy gifts when they're on sale or when you think of it and keep them in a box in your basement.  Then when you realize you have a party to go to in a couple days, no worries!  Just go down and pick out an appropriate gift!  I've been using this strategy with the classmates since I don't know much about their interests.  For our nieces and close friends it's more fun to pick out something specific for the birthday kid.