Sunday, June 29, 2008

My Knights In Shining Armor

Colin has been really into reading the Magic Treehouse series of books lately. Liam prefers a few less words and a few more pictures so he's really into Henry and Mudge. At any rate, each book takes the characters, Jack and Annie, to a time in history and teaches them something about it. At home, we've been trying to incorporate games, crafts and outings that correspond to what they've read lately. So, for the Medieval Knight book, it allowed two bigger boys a field trip to Higgins' Armory in Worcester, MA, where Liam was dying to see "Shinin' Ahmah!"

The child has his Boston accent down-pat.

Their favorite fact from the book is that a knight's helmet weighs 40 pounds. So, exactly like having Colin sitting on your head! Here's the tour of our day in "Shinin' Ahmah!"

Brave, brave Sirs Colin and Liam

Video would have been better here as one of the boys mentioned something about an evil knight on Scooby Doo (so much for raising a TV-free family) so they both kept glancing backwards to make sure the Black Knight did not suddenly regain the ability to use his previously severed limbs.

ARTHUR: Look, you stupid bastard. You've got no arms left.
Yes, I have.
Just a flesh wound.

At any rate...

Brave, brave Sir Liam!

I see your Schwartz is as big as mine....
Wait...wrong film. Never mind.

Puppet show that involved a princess, a dragon and Liam's imaginary friend named Blech! (I swear).

Since we came back, Liam is all about sword-play now and lashing out when he senses a dragon or some other undesirable reptile in his general vicinity. Colin liked it just fine but seems to have let it all go and moved onto a new story. Not sure if I can convince them to help Daddy to finally build a trebuchet.

King Daddy's self-portrait with his face pressed under 40 lbs of brass and steel.

The sport of kings. No...wait...that's horse racing. This is a sport with kings....

The sport of kings may be horse racing the haute couture of kings involves GQ-style poses in medieval arches and clip-on neckties. I swear I did not force them to wear these things. I was even dressed-down in shorts and a golf shirt!

What day would be complete without Colin doing something artistic (rubbings of a brass plate with a knight and a dragon) and Liam running around like...Liam!

Liam's head != Daddy's head

All in all, it's great fun to visit and the Higgins Armory staff do a wonderful job. There's some interesting history of Worcester, MA.

Now, bring me a shrubbery!

The Beach Boys

We're on a mini-vacation right now in NH/VT but I woke up earlier than the hellions so I figured I'd get these pictures up before we had 100 more from our trip! Earlier in the week, we trekked to the beach because we're missing our friend Josh's birthday party today and couldn't resist celebrating it with him. Especially because he lives right next to a fabulous beach that is great for the kids! We were lucky enough to have cousin Erin come with us and she was not only fun but an amazing help with the boy-os. Though the water was shallow, it's still hard to watch three kids at the same time especially when they are all water babies!

We made Josh a cake/pudding concoction in honor of our beach day. We used graham cracker crumbs for sand, but it came out a LITTLE dry. Next time I'll work more on taste and less on presentation!

The boys made all the shell candies themselves and then reused the molds the next day to make crayon melts. They did a really nice job with the candies and showed great restraint NOT eating them before we gave them to Josh!
Everyone is happier with Erin around!

Eamon slept in the tent for a too-short nap but then perked up and was in all his glory digging in the sand.

Colin's seagull impression?

If only I could keep them this still all the time!

Liam is a sand castle master!

I've got to get Eamon his own baby-sized chair because he LOVED Josh's and sat STILL for the longest time in it. A miracle!

Miss Mermaid. Erin is a lovely mermaid complete with boobs that Liam PAINSTAKINGLY shaped. He then told her: "Don't breathe, you cracking your boobies!"

Friday, June 20, 2008

Summer lovin'

We had a fun week as usual amid the craziness. One day was happily spent at Davis' Farmland with some friends though the boys kept asking if their Cousin David would be there because they thought I was saying "David's Farmland". They were disappointed to find out he wasn't there but managed to have fun instead.

Eamon happily playing in the water. He fell asleep before we actually go to the water park side of the farm, but he got his fill anyway.

Colin had fun in the "car wash".

They loved the goats, but Liam had the most fun brushing the baby calves.

when he wasn't tormenting the chickens.

Oh, how they've grown even since last year!

The whole crew getting some chow.

Colin is just in love with letters and writing and language and reading. We're reading chapter books at night now for him (hallelujah for Mommy) though Liam still doesn't have the attention span for picture-less books so he gets to pick his own first. This week, Colin wanted to stop off at the cemetery on our street and do some grave rubbings. Liam fell asleep on the walk over but Colin did a great job of finding all the letters to spell out their names and make crayon replicas. Liam woke up at home long enough to glue his letters to a piece of paper which was enough for him... he'd take a gluestick over pretty much ANY toy at the moment. As his perpetually sticky fingers can attest to...

I know I should be past getting surprised over this, but they really are COMPLETELY different. The farm had an area to do face-painting. Colin asked me to do a rainbow and a bug on his cheeks then delicately added a few dots to flesh it out.

Liam refused to let me help him with anything and ended up as something between a tribal warrior and the Incredible Hulk. I don't know where they learned about warriors, but for the rest of the week, they've covered their bodies daily with markers so they can "play warrior up in ours rooms" according to Liam. I tried to leave them be as I probably don't want to know what "playing warrior" really means. No bones have been broken. Yet.

Is it appropriate, do you think, that Eamon's name is just ONE LETTER away from being DEMON? How many boys are AFRAID of their baby brother? I know two for sure. Actually, Christopher and I are terrified of the little guy because he is constantly cuddling us... then pinching, scratching, whacking, head-butting, swiping as soon as we feel safe. It always starts so nice... and ends so bloody. And the cackle he gives when he beats on us is so maniacal. He's already suckered us in a million times. A stern "no-no" will make his bottom lip quiver pathetically. But DO NOT BE FOOLED! The moment you pick him up to "comfort him", he will laugh in your face and grab at your _____. (Fill in with any body part in his reach that he can possibly take a bite of.) He is evil. Just look at that face (and how he has managed to hold down two boys that significantly outweigh him.)

Our other art project of the week started when Colin found some tangram games on the computer. I thought we could do something similar with foam art stickers, but they proved to be too hard for us. (Ahem, too hard for me. Colin's ability to discern spatial relationships far outweighs mine. And probably 75% of the people who have aced the GRE math exam.) We decided to be "creative" instead. Here is one of Colin's masterpieces. Robots are very big this week. Liam even has an imaginary friend named "Robot" now.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Pure happiness.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried.

Clamoring to swim at Grammy and Grampy's begins precisely one second after the boys wake up in the morning. And doesn't stop until they jump in. And it's even better when there are cousins to join them! Colin's imaginary friend Bananahead is back from the dead this week. Turns out he has a cousin named "Ryanmiss". Apparently because sometimes he misses his cousin Ryan. There they are together living it up. I was informed that although Bananahead is now 147 years old, "his banana peel is not black yet because he keeps it in a plastic bag."

Colin is wrapping up his last week of school, replete with parties and festivities and crafts. All of the art projects he's brought home in the last week have all been signed "BolinBoy" on the back. That's what we called him when he was a baby. But more importantly to Mr. 'Puter Savvy, it's his login name for Webkinz world. If you're not familiar with this phenomenon... well, better to keep it that way...

Continuing our mosaic theme, Colin made Forget-me-not flower pots for his preschool teachers as a parting gift out of tile grout and assorted beads and gems. "Gaudy" is how Christopher described them but Colin is an all-or-nothing kinda guy. We SHOULD have given them gift certificates for therapy as next year they'll have Double Trouble with Colin AND Liam.

What do you do with an overabundance of catalogs when it's too hot to play outside (over 100 degrees this week!) and you have to get through a WHOLE HOUR until your baby brother wakes up so you can go swimming? Make mosaics of course! (As if this particular scenario will ever occur in any of your lives, I'm sure). Colin had a blast cutting out parts from different people and sticking them together. Liam was struggling with the scissors and finally just ended up cutting his magazines into little pieces, but the end result was no less satisfying to him (hint: use contact paper, way easier and less messy than glue, I've found... through lots of experience with sticky kids, house, dog, etc).

We made a rather trailer-trashy toffee/chocolate/peanut butter cup/fritos/pretzels candy (don't ask, just eat) for Auntie Kelly's birthday and a pool cake to go with it. Mostly, we've gone swimming at Grammy and Grampy's a lot and eaten a lot of icecream in a useless attempt to stay cool. "Look, Mommy, I'm a clown!" said Liam while balancing an upside-down ice cream cone on his head after he ate (most of) it.

I've learned to strip them before they bake now. Saves on new clothes. They like licking the beater more than anything of course, and as I swiped some batter from Colin's belly button, he yelped: "Hey, I was going to EAT that!" Gross. But not as gross as when Liam insisted "let I try it and see if it is (dis)gusting!" after I told him to quit drinking the obviously nasty dirty/soapy bath water that is the result of a fun day outside for three boys.

Could he BE any cuter? (Or prouder?) Liam likes to watch TV while Colin is at school. Mommy doesn't agree. He helped me decorate Kelly's cake today because I nixed tube time. "But, Mommy!" he said, as he knocked his skull, "My brain is not MUSHY yet!!" (We told them too much TV makes the brain mushy... they don't seem to care).

Because it would be too mundane to put stickers on PAPER.

Could these kids BE any more different? Colin is growing up to be such a sweet, helpful (when he's not whining) young man. This week he fired off to me as I was rushing to make dinner when Eamon awoke from his nap: "YOU start dinner, Mom, I'LL get the baby." Liam.. well... not so much helpful as... uh, unique. I think this sums him up in a nutshell: Every night the last thing the boys do before getting into bed is brush their teeth and take their "special medicine" (fluoride-laden chewable vitamins). As I whispered lovingly to Liam and tucked him in, he said: "Mommy, uh... I think you need to fix mine ear before I go to sleep..." I thought he had a bug bite. No. He had his now-licked-and-sticky vitamin stuck in his ear. Really stuck. Turns out it's the perfect size and shape for his ear. Now we know. It fits.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Getting to Know You

We were without a camera this week due to Daddy having it in India so we had no real photos to speak of. Instead, I stole an idea from another blog and used the Mosaic Maker from Flickr to make collages of the kids "favorite things". Basically, I asked them questions and used the answers to search Flickr for random peoples' photos. Here's the end results (I took the liberty of answering a few for Eamon, painstakingly interpreting his grunts, gurgles and guffaws in the most accurate way possible...)

Getting to know...COLIN

(1) First name: Colin (2) Middle name: Michael (3)
Favorite food: macaroni and cheese (4) Favorite toy: Little People (5) Favorite color: green (6)What do you want to be when you grow up?: Firefighter (7): If you could go anywhere, where would it be: Space (8) Favorite animal: giraffe (9) Favorite person in the world: Baby Jake (10) One word to describe yourself: creative (11)If you could do anything fun, what would it be?: play with Liam (12)Favorite movie: Tom and Jerry

(These are the titles of the photos I used, giving credit to the actual photographers)
1. Colin Firth having coffee dumped on him, 2. Surreal but Real, 3. Mack-Aroni & Cheese, 4. When Waves Collide, 5. ♫ YO Yo yo, there's no place like a green penthouse... so i told the genie i wanted to be well hung. ^o^ ♫ nah... wildlife from singapore♫, 6. B u r n i n g *, 7. Moonlight of Gold, 8. Running Giraffe, 9. nursery3, 10. Arnarstapi Natural Arch - West Fjords - Iceland, 11. Max's Head, 12. Cat and Mouse Games

Getting to know... LIAM

(1) First name: Liam (2) Middle name: James(3) Favorite food: hotdog(4) Favorite toy: ball (5) Favorite color: yellow (6)What do you want to be when you grow up?: Mommy (7): If you could go anywhere, where would it be: Grammy's (8) Favorite animal: elephant (9) Favorite person in the world: Mommy (10) One word to describe yourself: good boy (11)If you could do anything fun, what would it be?: play playdough(12)Favorite movie: Mickey Mouse

1. "I'm not angel, I'm Liam!", 2. evening James River sky, 3. sweaty?, 4. My Ball, 5. vw, 6. Children, 7. Grammy's Attic, 8. GET ME TO THE WILDERNESS…, 9. Always by your side, 10. Anything you can do....I can do better!, 11. homemade play dough, 12. Mal tiempo y fantasía

Getting to know... EAMON

(1) First name: Eamon (2) Middle name: Campbell (3) Favorite food: literally anything (4) Favorite toy: cars (5)What do you want to be when you grow up?: Tyrant (6) If you could go anywhere, where would it be: Up the stairs, alone! (7) Favorite animal: Clara the Dog (8) One word to describe yourself: Trouble (9)If you could do anything fun, what would it be?: pinch people

1. Untitled, 2. Fluffy Girl *LiLi*, 3. Green jacks, 4. Hot Wheel Memories (with reflected self), 5. big roar, 6. Up Or Down, 7. CLARA - February 17th, 2007, 8. Where Troubles Melt Like Lemondrops, 9. Baby Leg

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Down to the Wire

Classic Liam. Dinosaur jammies, swim goggles and all.

I don't even know what to say to this. Colin said: "See mom, I made a plus sign and equals sign on top." As if it were perfectly normal to be writing mathematical equations on your naked brother with markers.

Eamon Campbell has finally walked! He will be fourteen months tomorrow and I was beginning to think he was going to crawl to Kindergarten. Then again, when you have two brothers who bring you your every desire, there's not much need to be upwardly mobile. And, the loveable bugger that he is, he JUST squeezed in his first steps hours before Daddy left for the airport on a 10-day business trip to India. We're hoping he still comes home to us, even though his baby will be a baby no more, and will most likely be even more trouble than before (and trust me, his now-infamous temper is nothing to sneeze at, every time anything is taken away from him, he shouts and pounds his fists. But since I'd rather he have a tantrum than choke to death, I will continue to take things away from him... all 23892357823 times a day that he makes it necessary.) By the end of the day, he went from a few halting steps to walking halfway across the kitchen--for a chocolate chip. It's nice to know he did get SOMETHING from me, and why I didn't think to bribe him with chocolate earlier is my own fault. I'm sure he would have been walking at 8 months if I'd have just thought of the RIGHT incentive.

This is "Evil Babyfied" as I call him now. You can see the half-gnawed crayon (and some in his mouth) along with Daddy's ipod headphones. Hey, at least they have a wire on them. For when I have to pull them out of his intestines. This kid is trouble and oh so happy to be so.

This week was full of little pleasantries. We had a yearly party at Uncle Paul's which Colin loves for two reasons: there's a lake, and "Uncle Paul always has the best chips." The boys got in some swimming in what I thought was ridiculously freezing water. Colin was modest enough to keep his underpants on, but since Liam rarely wears any, he resorted to skinny-dipping, much to his bigger cousins chagrin.
"I remember when rock was young. Me and Colin had so much fun. Holding hands and skimming stones..."

On Friday, we tried to while away the hours until Daddy called us safely after his flight by going for a walk. How long does it take to walk exactly one mile with two pre-schoolers on foot? Who am I kidding, I didn't take a watch. But I can tell you, it was an EXCRUCIATINGLY long time. Mostly due to stopping to play in the sand, in the stream, at the cemetery, piling dirt on the dog, investigating a dead snake ("even its TAIL is dead!" says Liam) and the real kicker: carrying a caterpillar on your neck, THE ENTIRE WAY HOME. Yes, we acquired "Fuzzy" about a half mile in and the road became a tightrope of fear as they worried Fuzzy would fall off their hands, backs, heads, etc until Colin decided his neck was the best place to carry him, at a (handicapped) snail's pace until we got home. Then they made him a lovely home in their magnified "bug house" and watched him like a hawk for three hours straight. Colin was just beside himself wondering why Fuzzy wouldn't eat the leaf they gave him. Apparently the caterpillar on Little Einsteins only eats yellow leaves, but we could only find green, go figure. At some point, Liam got tired of waiting for him to metamorphosize into a "butterfly" (MOTH, I kept telling them, to no avail) and took him out and smooshed him while I made dinner. "Fuzzy got dead by accident", he told me after which the big boys and I decided, once and for all, that animals need to stay in their natural habitat and not on the floor of the playroom where they narrowly miss being eaten by their baby brother.
Never, ever, leave a whole package of wipes in your baby's crib when you put him down for the night. You will be sorry, and you will be out a pack of wipes. But, that was nothing compared to when Eamon fell out of his crib head-first last week. But I think poor Colin cried harder than Eamon. He was in his room when it happened and almost threw up he was so scared Eamon was hurt. Which wasn't as bad as when Colin himself woke up in a pool of blood that week... par for the course with him and his bloody noses. Liam BEGS to held mop up the "bleedy" when it happens. Which wasn't nearly as bad as when Colin took the corner of the coffee table in his temple this week, one of those real good ones that immediately turns black and huge. Which wasn't nearly as bad as when Liam spent the night in the ER a couple weeks back when he scratched his cornea. Do you see a pattern here? This is life with three boys. Daily.

What else? We made peanut butter ball ladybugs for a birthday party at ChuckECheese. Colin, who loves to bake more than anything sagely told me as he manned the mixer of peanut butter, "well, I can't turn it on yet, because you can't mix something if it's the only thing in the bowl. Then it wouldn't be MIXING, it would just be SMOOSHING." I fear for this child's future teachers and hope they all have good psychiatric help. I know I need it dealing with him and his noble, yet irritating, insistence on precision. Today, we had a blast at a graduation party for our favorite babysitter, Hannah, who had the nerve to get a swimming scholarship to college in PENNSYLVANIA, not exactly close enough to come home and watch the boy-os. So, while we're happy for her (and shocked how old she is, as I used to be HER nanny until I went to college), we're going to miss her--a lot! Our other favorite babysitter, Holly, is also going away to school in ALASKA. Does no one go to community college anymore? I'm going to be out of a job if people don't stick closer to home--not to mention out of date nights!

I have to say, the boys did a nice job with rolling these out into balls. And their favorite part: digging through a one-pound vat of jellybeans to sort out only the black ones. Who said learning can't be delicious?

Oh, Liam. I just find myself saying that all the time. At his three year checkup a few weeks back, our pediatrician asked: "Can he put a shirt on by himself?" Uh, yeah. And socks, pants, underpants and a tie too. Every morning at 6am, Liam wakes my (by tapping incessantly, yet gently, on my face). "Mama, can you do my button, I all dressed by mine self!" Yes, he picks out his own clothes, can't you tell? Two things I don't understand about boys' clothes though: 1) who puts buttons instead of snaps on 3 year old pants? They are impossibly at odds with potty-training, not to mention my sleep schedule. 2) Why do they put the cool picture on the BACK of boys' briefs and not the front? Now that I'm TRYING to get Liam to actually put on underpants, he does, but always backwards "so I can see Superman" was the reasoning I got today. Oy vey. Today he got another lesson in clothing. He was patting my back and felt my bra strap and asked what it was and what it was for. "Holding my boobs up!" I replied. Then he went up to Colin's room and said: "Colin, Mama has a booby strap!" which was just TOO funny because all week they've been into making "booby traps" which I think they got from watching Scooby Doo. "Those meddling kids" use them a lot to trap the bad guys, I think. So, all over the house, I find piles of random toys, books, etc that the kids tell me are "Booby traps". Mostly they are there to trip me up and keep Eamon from getting to whatever they are playing.