Monday, July 26, 2010

Hurricane Youmans

The boys' birthdays are about 6 weeks apart, so this year, we decided to have a party for them together.  6 weeks might be a little too far apart, since the party was a full month before Nate turns 2, but honestly, he doesn't have a clue.  The poor kid still thinks the party was for Ben-and Batman. 

We invited a few friends to join us at Pine Island for some pizza, cake, and swimming on Friday night.  As we drove over the dam, with Pine Island off a little ahead, we started noticing some pretty crazy gray clouds in that general direction.  As we got closer, it got darker.  We were getting things out of the cars, and the wind picked up a little bit more.  We were under a picnic shelter, so we weren't too worried.  I think most of the guests arrived before it really got nuts.  We ate some pizza as it started to rain a little, with thunder off in the distance and a little bit of lightning now and then.  The cake brought a little bit more rain, but nothing too serious, the shelter kept us all dry.

The kids did really well--well, until they got a little stir crazy.  The poor things came in swimsuits, with the huge lake right in front of us.  Toes started sneaking out into the rain-one foot in the shelter, eyes looking at parents for approval.  That quickly became full on rolling in the mud, with a little streaking added in (thanks Betsy!)

They really had a great time-it was like we had planned the poor weather just for them.  Really, today-do we let our kids get dirty enough and just full out play in the yuck?  I know I don't-all I can see it the clean up after the fact.  It was nice to just let 'em loose.  And yes they were dirty, but most of us didn't care at all. 

Soon the rain let up and the storm seemed to have passed, so we all ran down to the water and got in.  Instant clean up!  I think everyone had a good time-crazy weather and all!

Happy Birthday Sweet Boys!!

Thursday, July 22, 2010


We go to the zoo fairly often.  Columbia has an wonderful zoo and it's a great way to get out and run around a little-when it is not 100 degrees.  So, basically, this summer has been out for us.  This was the first time we had been in a while and the first time in a really long time I have taken my camera.  I think I have it with me now and then, but am too busy enjoying the littles to remember to take pictures of anything.  I got some pictures of some of our favorites this week, although our visit was really short (by 10:30 we were really sweating) and we missed over half of the animals.

The Lemurs are some of Ben's favorites.  These are the ring tails, but he really loves the red rock lemur that we didn't get to see on Monday.

The kangaroos are fairly new to the zoo and this is the first time we have seen them.  You get to walk through the actual exhibit, with nothing between you and the 'roos, which is pretty cool, although the 'roos might be chemically mellowed, I'm not quite sure.  There are also wallabies in there, which must have been hiding from us.

The flamingos were the stars for us this week.  We always stop and look at them on the way in to see the penguins, but boy are they stinky.  The wind direction usually determines how long we look at our pink friends.  We were so happily surprised to see 'mingo babies this time.  The first time we just saw one, then we were lucky enough to see both babies, and to see at least two more eggs in nests.  A few of the birds were sitting down, and we were guessing they might be protecting eggs also-so we are so excited to go back and see how many new babies arrive!

Mason and Nate checking out the meerkats (they really are there, you just can't see their little camoflauged behinds).

Brantley getting warm and cozy with a goat that really needs some orthodontic work.

Are they trying to get in or out?
(and why do I love red doors so much?)

And just a few things I thought were pretty this week. 

It is so nice to be able to go to a great zoo whenever we want.  We don't feel like we have to rush through and see all of the animals, we know they'll still be there when we come back (don't tell my kids that there is one fewer gorilla, they have no idea).

I don't say it enough, but thanks Gil for the hard work that you do that allows me to stay home with the wild things to do the hard work that I do.  Mushy mushy-shut up!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Dear Ben,

How in the world is it that you turned 4 this weekend?  Really kid, slow it on down.   I can't believe we have had you for four whole years, I feel like you are still our big, blonde, baby boy. 

You finished your second year of preschool, and I know I keep saying it, but you are SMART!  You amaze us all the time with the things that come out of your mouth.  I really need to write down the crazy things you say.  The one that comes to mind happened yesterday in the car.  It was the day after your birthday and I was interviewing you about being 4, I asked you what is different and you told me that you guess you would have to give up dinosaurs now that you are 4.  I told you that big kids can like dinosaurs, too-and you said that you might be more into dragons now.  This whole discussion was so serious to you, like you had really been thinking alot about the implications of being four.  Funny kid. 

Some things about you-you really like dinosaurs and Batman.  You like to watch tv and just this year have been able to sit through a whole movie.  Daddy and I took you to see "Kung Fu Panda" over a year ago, and we made it about an hour (bad example, not a good movie, but it was the only kid thing out and we really watned to take you to your first movie).  Then last summer, you and Daddy went to see a double feature of Toy Story and Toy Story 2. You made it through all of the first one, and some of the second (then I think Daddy talked you into leaving because HE was done with movies for the day!)  We have gone to a few movies this summer during the day and you have done great.  Then you and your friends went to the drive in to see Toy Story 3 and you were mesmerized.  Didn't hear a peep from you the whole time!

You are definitely your Daddy's boy these days.  You two have all sorts of things that you do together that he does way better than I ever could.  You guys are master fort builders and like to have all sorts of battles with each other.  You have all these little bedtime rituals that I don't know about.  We have both been telling you stories lately about when we were little.  It's funny to see your brain trying to wrap around that we were once little.  I'm pretty sure you aren't buying it though.

You and Nate are great good friends, much more this year than last.  He is pretty wild, and he bites you way too often, but you guys have such a good time together.  He is starting to be able to play with you, and not just wreck everything you are doing.  You chase each other all around the downstairs and love to play outside.  You really like playing on your swingset (thanks Mimi and Papa!).  You swing on the "zebra" swing and sometimes I worry that you'll fall asleep on the thing.

You have a lot of really good friends, or it seems like a lot to have for a 4 year old.  You are so nice and considerate to others, both kids and adults alike.  When friends come over to play, you are so good about sharing your toys, and you all usually have a great time.

You and Nate are going to start to share a room sometime this coming year, and you are pretty excited about that.  We think you guys are going to have a great time together.  We just hope you won't stay up all night playing in there.

Daddy and I love you to the moon and back.


Thursday, July 8, 2010

Making progress

.... on our summer to do list....

Since this picture was taken, we have marked off a few more things, but still have plenty left to look forward to.

I finally got our own celebration banner done.  I wanted to make one that was not event or person specific.  We can use it for all of our birthdays and even other special occasions-all of which will require cake!

And a close up.  These are some fabrics I had been hoarding for some reason.  I guess I was just waiting for the right project.  I need to get some more of both-I really love them.

And, on another note, here is Ben after attending a Teddy Bear Picnic this morning.  They got to see Sarah Dippity do a magic show, obviously get their faces painted, and decorate matching t shirts for themselves and their furry friends.  Pretty cute.  All I can get out of Ben is that the magic show was cool and she switched the peanut butter and jelly-but it was NOT a sandwich.  And something about a puppet that tickled people.  It's like some kind of code around here!

If you can't tell, he is a ferocious dragon.  (I thought he looked a little like a deranged, rabid smurf, but I kept that to myself).

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

I'm back!

Sounds scary, huh?  Kind of like ol' Jack in The Shining!

An even scarier Jack moment....

Well, I wasn't killing anyone in an abandoned hotel, or looking quite that porky in France, I was just hanging out in Charleston.  What a surprise, huh?  Gil's cousin Leigh was in town from Canada and we HAD to go and try to squeeze in some time with her.  And her adorable 6 year old daughter, Alex, who Ben and Nate truly love like a sister (as evidenced by the intense hugging and fighting, both).

We had such a nice time in Charleston, kicked off by a quick McDonald's visit out in the country with my great good friend Katrina.  Katrina and her hubby Marlon are friends from our Florida days and she happened to be passing through on 95 going from NC back to Florida.  She had her dad and her 3 adorable monsters with her-all clones of her!

Chloe, Katrina, and me

I know you shouldn't eat little kids, but really, could I just snack on her cheekies?  Please Katrina?  I saw Amelia and her twin Mitchell last in the NICU, my how they have grown!

Nate and Mitchell surely got along well.

Then we got to see Leigh-yeah!!!  She works in Whistler, and works way too hard.  We got to see her in February when we trekked up for the Olympics, but we miss her!

The three little sparklers

On Saturday morning, we went out to Folly for some beach time.  It was beautiful weather, but extremely windy.  The dry sand was blowing around like crazy.  It got in everything we took with us and almost buried Gil's shoes.  And the waves were semi-rough-which the surfers were enjoying.  We could not believe how brave Ben was.  He was getting out up to his chest and just getting beat up.  He would go down and pop right back up.  And the current was so strong, we would get in way down the beach and still have to hoof it back when we got out of the water.  No pictures from that outing.  It's so nice just to go and enjoy something and not be behind the camera the whole time.

That afternoon we went to a pool party at Gil's cousin Chip's house.  They live in the prettiest neighborhood and have such a nice house.  All of our fingers and toes were so very wrinkled because nobody wanted to get out of the pool.  I got a few pictures, but this is the best...

Alyce, another cousin of Gil's-had done a big fat cannonball earlier in the day and soaked Cheryl.  Well, Cheryl bided her time and used Gil and sweet baby Nate to get her back.  Alyce had changed into her clothes-including her shoes-and Gil lured her over to the pool and Cheryl pushed her right in!  It was pretty funny and Alyce was such a good sport-she immediately started laughing!  If I were Cheryl, I would watch my back for a little while.

Gil and his entourage.  (This was after Gil's HUGE basketball victory-way to go Gil!)

On Sunday, we had a little birthday party for the boys (yes, Nate's birthday is 6 weeks away-so what?). Later that day, we went down to Riverfront Park in North Charleston for some 4th of July festivities.  This was decided when we saw that one of our favorite bands, the Blue Dogs, would be out there.  It was great.  The park is so nice and the weather was amazing.  We got to hear great music and then see some great fireworks.  Now we know where to go in Charleston for the 4th.  (love the beaches, but it's so hard to get out afterwards).

Ben listening to music, and feeling his weekend catch up with him...

The next day we went to the water park at James Island, it was pretty great.  Again, no pictures, just fun.  Ben was finally, kind of, sort of, tall enough to ride the big slide.  He got measured 3 times and we were thankful he has long shaggy hippie hair, because that is the only way he was officially tall enough.  I bet we rode those 2 slides 20 times.  And Gil, the baby whisperer, got grumpy baby to sleep and the child slept for over an hour on a shady lounge chair.  I think Gil drugs him.

If you are still here, wow-you probably need a nap!  Hope you had a great holiday weekend, and could you please slow down summer?  The 4th always made me realize that school was right around the corner and summer would end before too long.  (and also, if you have any pull, please bring back the temperatures from this past weekend).