Saturday, August 23, 2008

In Memory of Joseph

I don't know Joseph or his family, but that didn't seem to matter today when I read his blog and found out that he died on Thursday. It still hurt and it still made me cry.

As my life was changing this week because my baby was starting kindergarten, another mother's life was changing because she lost her baby.

I'm hugging my boys a little tighter today and praying for Joseph's family.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

So much to blog about, so little time...

As my baby heads off to kindergarten this year and I cut those apron strings, I am also trying to cut the apron strings that bind me to this computer where I waste WAY TOO MUCH time. That is why I haven't gotten around to posting about all of this important stuff...until NOW!

A lot has been going on around here. My baby turned 6 and headed off to kindergarten, all within the last two weeks.

These pictures (and video) are from Adam's actual birthday. He chose to go out to eat at Texas Roadhouse, a.k.a. the peanut restaurant. He loves the fact that you can crack peanuts open and throw the shells on the floor. I messed up the video because I started out filming sideways before I remembered that I needed to turn the camera around, plus Adam is sitting on a saddle and I completely cut that out of the video. One of these days I will master the use of my new camera. Shortly after I do, it will break.

1st day of (all-day) Kindergarten

Adam was so excited for his first day. He walked into the school ahead of me with his big brother and friends as I struggled to keep up. Then, when he got to the door of his room, he waved, said, "Bye Mom!" and walked right in. I had to remind him that I was planning to come in and take a few pictures. After snapping a couple of shots, I turned to go, but not without looking back for just one last glance at my big boy. Adam was looking up at me as though it was finally hitting him that THIS WAS IT and I was really leaving him here...ALL DAY! That slightly uncertain look on his face was all it took to send me blubbering into the hallway. I promptly went to my minivan (yes, I still have the minivan) where I called my Mommy.

1st day of 3rd Grade

These 3 have been friends since kindergarten. I take their picture together every year on the first day of school. Dang, my kid is tall!

Those are "J"s made out of Skittles, in case you were wondering. Jacob doesn't like chocolate so he had a separate lemon cake. Adam's name is spelled out in mini M&M's.

Even Willie couldn't resist a good sword fight.

Diet Coke, Mentos & plumber's butt - ya gotta love that!

These are pictures from the dual birthday party. My boys' birthdays are 2 weeks apart so they opted to have their party together. Each of them invited just a few friends over for some backyard fun and grilled hot dogs. There was weaponry everywhere in the form of water balloons, water pistols, Nerf dart guns & foam swords; in other words, it was a boys' paradise (and our lone girl in attendance, Olivia, liked it too!). The night ended with a sleep (aka no-sleep) over. This was one of the easiest and cheapest parties we've ever done and oddly enough, according to Jacob and a few of his friends, the best one ever!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Vacation All I Ever Wanted, Vacation Had To Get Away

I wanted to be Belinda Carlisle from the Go Go's. She was so b%tch*n'!

80's flashback fadeout.

On to the here and now:

Vacation planning in the Ramirez household became something of a comedy this summer as we settled on one destination after another, changing our minds on almost a weekly, and sometimes daily, basis. First we toyed with Puerto Rico, then we were definitely going to the Florida panhandle, next we were headed further south in Florida, Anna Maria Island to be specific. Next was Gulf Shores, Alabama. Then, we took a U-turn (geographically) and decided to visit family in Ruidoso, NM. When my Grandma in Arizona ran into some medical trouble, we briefly thought of changing our plans and heading to Phoenix, but she wouldn't hear of it so we were on again with Ruidoso. Then, for various reasons, we ended up going back to Table Rock Lake for a couple of days instead. Still Waters was all booked up so we rented a campground cabin in Kimberling City.

Dear Santa, Thank you for the portable DVD players. They make road trips so much more bearable. Note, I did not say pleasant. I just said bearable.

Although Santa also gave Jacob a portable DVD player, he decided to see how long he could ride and "do nothing". Can I just ponder once more, as I often do, how amazing it is that two children can come from the same parents and be so different!!

Before we got to Table Rock Lake, we had to make a stop here. You may recall that I can't drive past one of these places without stopping. This was Willie's first time...He was a Russell Stover Outlet virgin. He got a little nervous when we walked through the door and I immediately grabbed a shopping basket. He had a lot to be nervous about.

This entire chocolate smorgasbord cost just $21.99! Do you understand the magnitude of that? There are TWENTY-FOUR Whitman's Chocolate Sampler boxes here! I have to admit that we actually even consumed some of this chocolate BEFORE the picture was taken. We consumed LOTS more after the picture was taken.

My boys love candles as much as their Momma does! I just love that.

Jacob was on my cell phone, talking to his buddy back in Shawnee, finding out which teacher he'll have this year for 3rd grade. Placement letters came while we were gone. I think he looks so grown-up in this picture.

And look at this cute little monkey...can you believe he's starting kindergarten? I can't.

What? We aren't doing anything!

The location of our cabin worked out well because it was right next to the marina, where we rented a pontoon boat for the day.

Once upon a time, there were two little boys. One boy loved boating.

The other boy...not so much. In fact, he hated boating. He cried when his parents made him ride in a pontoon. He cried so hard in fact, that everybody in the marina was staring at him and his mean parents as they boated away from the dock for a horrible day of swimming, tubing, ice cream and snacks. Apparently the little boy forgot how much fun he had the last time he went boating.

I'm just keeping it real people. If you don't like it, write your Congressman! Funny thing about this is that when we told the boys to pee in the lake, we meant for them to jump in and go about their business discreetly. But, that just wouldn't have been as much fun, I guess.

After a while, the little boy started to like boating, but just "barely" and just because there were marina stores where you could pull up on your boat, hop out and buy ice cream...because he didn't get enough chocolate. Neither did his Mommy, or his Daddy, or his brother. They were on vacation after all.

Doesn't this remind you of Gary Coleman saying, "What you talking 'bout Willis?" in Different Strokes?

The little boy was definitely not going to ride on the Sea-doo.

Well, maybe just once...

or twice.

Fortunately, by the end of the day, the little boy who didn't like boating now LOVED boating, only he didn't want to ride pontoon boats anymore, he wanted to ride the "fastest ski boats in the world" instead!

We were all exhausted after a full day of boating, swimming and sun. I REALLY didn't feel like making dinner so we went out to eat at a diner in the marina. I wish I had taken a picture of this, but I didn't. All around the restaurant (and I use that term loosely), we spotted ziploc bags full of water stapled to ceiling beams, hanging in front of windows, doors, etc. Our waitress told us the purpose was to repel flies because they are frightened away by their reflection. Upon returning home, I did a quick google search and found another explanation. Seems that when a fly sees the bag of water, his eyes mulitply the bags and gives the flies the impression that there is a wall of water in front of them and they will not cross it. Whatever the reason, it seems to work for some people. I may have to give this a try.

Filling our boat up with gas and saying good-bye to the lake the next day.

We couldn't let our leftover pancakes go to waste so we fed the fish and turtles who hang around the dock waiting for people like us to come along.

Worms are fun...if you're a boy.

I think I'll leave you with this shot of a trout heart. Melody, the owner of the trout park, cleaned and de-boned our fish so that Willie can cook them on the smoker. She showed the boys how, when the heart stops beating, you can massage it to get it beating again. My boys dug right in and took turns "resuscitating" this trout heart. Future heart surgeons, perhaps? I don't mean to be gross by posting this. I just found it so fascinating and it was hard to tear myself away from watching this little miracle being performed over and over again.

Look what happens when you feed fish on a trout farm...TROUT GONE WILD!!