Sunday, December 30, 2007

adventures in potty training



So, in an effort to torture myself, I have decided that this is the time to potty train my newly 2 year old. yes. the beg. of winter, when clothes will be layered. the PERFECT time... (what am i thinking??) Please bear in mind the following:
i have NEVER potty trained any of my children earlier then age 3. my boys just wont. T however 3 days after his third birthday when told (by me and john) he was to old to wear diapers anymore. He said ok. We bought him underwear, he potty trained in 1 day. Literally. Jo, due to health issues, was 4, and still has problems. M was a solid three. I would never in my life suggest to a 2 year old that the potty would be a fun project to overtake. my boys at 2 are gross. they think body parts are funny, the touch everything, they put their feet on the toilet when they are supposed to be using it, etc. my 2 year olds are just not mature enough to handle the potty (or maybe that is just me....) on the other hand though, I have had kids in diapers for almost 8 years straight now. When M was born, I had T- 2 1/2, jo 1 1/2, and M newborn all is diapers together for 6 months. it was like an assembly line whenever i had to change them. M potty trained a few weeks after van was born. so maybe that is the reason for me thinking this would be a good idea... after last nights random success on the potty, i choose today as the day to potty train van... (it only takes 1 day, right???) school starts back for him on the 3, and i would love to send him in underwear. we skipped church today (in fact when we sat down for dinner at 6 tonight, T pointed out he and van were the only ones not in pajamas... and van was half naked, so he doesn't count...) and let van wear his new elmo underwear (mostly over his diapers...) and asked him a million times if he needed to go potty. He went a total of 1 time on the potty today (and I am pretty sure he co-operated only to get a treat...) , twice in his underwear, and a lot more in his diaper. He came up to me at one point today grabbing his bottom and said "my butt hurts. give me diaper."
I had van sitting on the big potty, and was sitting on the lid of his little potty that we use as a step stool and I was singing him songs to keep him sitting still longer. after the songs ended, he told me he was all done, hopped off the toilet, pulled me off the little potty, and told me to sit on the big potty. Closing the lid and sitting down, i was wondering what he was doing. he sat on his little potty, crossed his legs like i had been sitting, and sang me the songs i had been singing to him. when i tried to get up and leave so i could start dinner he asked me if i was all done. He carried the step stool into the kitchen while i started dinner and told me his potty was for jumping.
he could so potty train. what a punk. anyway. cute pics, he loves his underwear, and maybe tomorrow will give us more success....






underwear make great hats... (ew.)





video

Saturday, December 29, 2007

out with the baby

In with the big boy! For several weeks now, van has been sharing a room with his older brothers. They all sleep crammed in the same room.

T and Jo's bed

M and Van's (yes... he's on the floor...)




Although he has been sleeping with them at night, at nap time, he has been totally happy sleeping in his crib (and I know his pj's don't match. he has a horrible habit of pulling himself out of his diaper at night time and uh, soaking himself...) but i digress.... yesterday I asked him if he was ready to be done with the crib. he said "des." which means yes. when asked again today, he was still ready so we worked all day switching beds around. Van's crib is in a room where we keep M's clothes, all their books, Van's cars and "little kid toys" like his einsteins. Just stuff in general the older kids don't care about. We took his crib down, moved Jo into a room with van, switched out dressers so we could put the 2 smaller dressers in the room that is now jo and van's (the bedroom is way smaller then the other one) and did MAJOR cleaning! It took all day, but we have 2 kids bedrooms now! M and T are sleeping comfortably in the bigger bedroom, Jo is sleeping in Van's room, and van is calling me from his bed telling me to change his diaper, he's poopy. (hes not, just stalling.) It is 9 pm and he wont go to sleep.... BUT, on top of all the changes in beds, van also decided today would be a great day to use the potty for the first time (at home, he does it in public, must be more fun at school and doc. offices....)

MESSY bookshelf!


Vans new bed!!! Jo shows
him how to jump on it!







Vans bed did have sheets on it, then he peed all over them at nap time...
















We organized closets


and put big kid posters on the wall for Jo




the end result in T and M's room

















all the bedrooms are soooo clean right now! I love that feeling from working hard and being able to see such wonderful results! (even if it is just for a day...)



but.... the bedrooms are the ONLY thing clean right now... playrooms next!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Merry Christmas, our tree is dead, and maintence made an emergency call to our house.

Merry Christmas! We had such a fantastic day yesterday, and hope everyone else did as well. I had my work party on the 17th at Boston beanery, which always ends up being a lot of fun... this year was no exception, with a few interesting elements.... being Mormon, me and my co-worker Seantylle get to be the DD's for the night. Good times were had by all..... and that is all i shall say about my night here...

Anyway. Christmas! We went to Richmond with my parents and sisters Heather and Lyndsay the sat before Christmas to see my grandpa and my moms siblings. We always play a wonderful game of dirty Santa. (pick a present, if it is good, someone else steals it, you pick again, if it sucks, you get to keep it!) I drew a candy jar filled w. candy and gold coins, and my sister heather stole it. I finished the day up with a diaper that had a coupon good for a 24 hour shift with my cousins 5 month old girl Jordan.... She wouldn't let me take her at the end of the day though, but I ALMOST got a girl for Christmas (if only it were that easy!!!) John got a coconut fish that was in a popcorn tin. When you lifted the lid of the tin, a singing card opened at the same tin so it looked like this fish was singing at you. pretty funny! the boys got a TON of pokemon stuff from my aunts and grandpa... 180 mini pokemon figures and the battle dome. We drove to Lynchburg sat night and spent a few days with my parents. They got the boys tennis rackets, sleeping bags, flashlights, and mess kits. They are so ready to go camping, now we need warm weather! Christmas Eve we drove home, and went over to dinner with some wonderful families. We played some cards, ate a ton of awesome food, and had the boys asleep by 8 pm! Not bad for Christmas Eve! The boys were up by 6 am yesterday morning. They were so excited bc we got rid of our stockings last year bc of poor condition, and they were so bummed they couldn't hang stockings Christmas Eve, but when they woke up on the morning, Santa had brought them new stockings, and even filled them with pokemon cards and other fun treats! the oldest 3 boys got video games from grandparents Christmas morning (Thanks, they LOVED them!) and board games and some clothes, but the big gift of the day were Heeleys, the shoes that everyone sees kids wearing in walmart with the wheels in the back. the catch with these shoes is you cannot buy the off brand, they have to be heeleys. In the off-brands the wheels don't remove, they just pop into the shoe, and so they aren't allowed in school... (grrr.) so we bought heeleys, where the wheels actually can be removed and the hole covered. The boys LOVED them. as friends came over throughout the day, several of their friends had gotten them for Christmas as well, and the kids all had fun practicing their moves!

I must have been the only kid on earth who had to do chores on Christmas day. Every Christmas, we would open presents, then spend several hours cleaning the house. I hated it. But I have passed the tradition on to my kids. Every year, my parents would have huge parties that lasted all day. I did love those, and have tried to carry that on. Yesterday we had several families come over to play games and eat a ton of food. We had such a great time, but with one major mishap. Our downstairs toilet has been running ever since we moved in. We try to just not use it very often. Whenever the kids do use the bathroom, we just turn the water on, flush, and turn it back off. recently, the water at the shut off valve has been pouring whenever we turn off the water. John remedied that by pulling the arm up in the toilet so that it wont run at all. not a bad fix, until yesterday. So, a kid used the bathroom downstairs, and we HAD to flush it. when john went to flush it, the arm snapped off, right at the base, where there was NO way to get the water to stop filling the bowl. He tried to tighten the screw in the shut off valve to keep it from spraying. no luck. after abt 30 minutes of messing w/ the toilet, and knowing NOTHING is open that would help is fix this on our own, we made the emergency maintenance call. our guy came and rigged it for now, but everyone watching him fix the toilet kept waiting for the piece he shoved into the broken arm socket to fly out and water spew into his face. that fortunately did not happen, but now we have a bathroom out of commission, and he is talking about coming in and ripping our sink out of the wall in the bathroom that does work so he can access a shower problem... overall though, we had a great day! We had tons of fun, and the kids were just so excited with their new toys and all the friends that came to play!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Christmas Countdown! (and a whole lot of catching up)

choclate dipped pretzels! M 10 p.m.
more pretzels and raspberry spoons- jo 10 p.m.
the card T made for his principal
So... December is flying by! 10 days left of good behavior~ the Santa threat totally works here! We are so excited it is almost Christmas! it is such a magical time of year, and having kids totally makes it so special! The boys are truly in the spirit of the holidays, and are having a great time making gifts for their teachers and our friends! M had his last of preschool Friday. Thursday morning I had the horrible realization that I needed gifts for his teacher, 2 aides, and the director of the preschool my kids have been going to for 5 years straight now by the next morning. We have really tried this year to make a lot of what we are gifting, and have tried to get the kids involved. Thursday after work, I came home and put van down for his nap and started making lists of who we needed to give to and what to give them. When all was said and done, I realized we have 17 teachers this year that our kids see on a regular basis: 2nd grade teacher, the principal (i work with him through pto), the guidance counselor, who keeps offering to keep T (we keep telling her they come as a package deal) the first grade teacher, Jo's speech therapist, his reading specialist, M, and his above mentioned 4, and finally van, who has 7 teachers other then me. So, i picked up the kid from school and headed straight to walmart with an extensive list. around 8 pm that night, we finally began the baking. We ended up making 20+ gifts in the one evening (the kids finally finished around 1030, and i headed to bed at 130), but we finished! the boys made cards for each of their teachers, and I made hot choc. mix that is slightly bitter, and choc. dipped spoons, rasp., and mint, to use as stirrers to sweeten and flavor the choc. the boys made choc. dipped pretzels and decorated each with plenty of sprinkles. we had a great time, we just started a little to late...
other fun dec. things: last wed. we went to elem. school to decorate gingerbread houses with the first grade. the boys had a great time making a huge mess at school, and eating a ton of junk. the houses were architecturally interesting, but what was the funniest realization came when John leaned over to me and pointing to our kids houses stated: you can tell which kids dads never do art projects with their kids, and which dads are engineers. i was a little confused until i looked over at a good friend of mine who is an interior designer, and has a husband who is an architect, and saw my kids houses compared to her kids houses. they had tile of twizzlers lining their roof as shingles, outlines of windows and doors, and a garden out back. our kids had the most absurd amount of candy draped however it could stay on. very interesting.
M had his school pageant the other night. he was a Sheppard, and was very cute in his costume. he goes to a catholic school, and they get to do so many fun religious things. it has been very fun for us to have him in a school were we can actually celebrate Christmas, rather then the holidays. it was so fun to watch 3-5 yr. olds act out the story of the nativity. one of the wise men, in the weeks leading up to the production kept messing up his line of "i bring you frankincense", and kept telling the baby doll playing baby Jesus, that he was bringing him Frankenstein. I told the boys that story and they were eagerly awaiting the production, only to be met with much disappointment when w. got his line correct.
last Sunday i played my first real concert in 2 years. It was really fun, and we actually sounded really good. I was really pleased. We played a manfredini piece called concerto grosso; still, still, still; Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring; Corelli's concerto fatto; and a suite of carols including pastores a belen, it came upon a midnight clear, o, little town of bethlehem, brign a torch, etc. I had a great time learning the music, as some of it was hard.. i am sounding better every week! it has been hard to find time to practice and get back into something i put down so long ago. We play our final holiday concert tomorrow.
we have had a series of very interesting conversations with the boys lately about us dying, life after living with us, etc. so, the other day as i was driving, this conversation came up again. it started very much the same as the others. "mom, if you and dad die, i will go live with gritty and grandpa?" yes. "with my brothers?" yes. "when i get married, i cant live with you anymore?" no. "or with my brothers?" right. (this was all T.) So then Jo pipes up... "i am never getting married. " why not? "because i am just going to play video games all day." uh. ok... not sure where that came from. then back to T... "jo, you have to get married." (me... why T?) because then if a robber breaks in, he has someone to protect him." oh no... my poor misguided child..... so here's jo... "no T, i will just get a gun, and be a police and play video games. and if a robber breaks in, i will kick him in the head. but i will have like a million guns." T: "it will be scary to sleep by yourself." jo: "i wont ever sleep. i will play video games. and a robber will never break in because i have a police car." T: "well, i am getting married so i wont be scared." yikes. so anyways... here are some pics!
Van at his school party
jo and van decorating the tree night



M at his polar express Christmas party at school- he is in the very front
-T- far right. making a mess. notice the technique of constr. child to the left of T. hes making a chimney.
Jo and his house
T and his house
e., T, and jo's teacher



outside of squires at johns white coat ceremony- every huge scholastic event has happened at squires for John- high school graduation, college grad., white coat ceremony, and he will graduate med school there also. kinda cool!
M as the Sheppard
trying to get a nice pic in front of our charlie brown Christmas tree, notice a trend w/ van in family pics???
the other constr. child, notice the shingles and the roof line
van, john and amy- dec. 14, 2007









Saturday, December 1, 2007

Beach pics, and other news...


So, the beach was awesome, as the pictures show. It was truly a vacation, and a much needed one. We threw wetsuits on the boys, and threw them at the beach. couldn't get anymore perfect then that!

The bigger news then beach pics now... John got coated today! his school had a ceremony today for his class where they were officially presented with their white medical coats. (he actually got it wed. he had to iron it...) anyway, my dad came up for it, as well as Johns parents and sister Lisa. Since Johns dad is a doctor, he was able to coat John, so that was fun! As it was held in Burruss, all of my pics came out dark, so I am waiting for pics from my friend with a higher quality camera. Very exciting! He also received an engraved stethoscope. an overall productive day, esp. as we got to come home and watch the rest of the hokie rematch!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

beach vacation

so... the photos will have to wait until we get home and i can upload pics, but this is one of the best vacations of my life! first of all, it is actually a vacation for me. Usually for me, vacation involves tons of planning, shopping, laundry etc. before we can even leave, and then while we are out of town, it takes extra work to get kids to bed at night in hotel rooms, lots of work to keep things organized, and things like that. this time, we are staying in a 10 bedroom house with 8 other families. it seems like it would be more work, but it def. isn't. each family have their own rooms with our own beds and their own full bath. kids are going to bed on time (well, ours are, some are not!) and sleeping well. each family is only responsible for 1 meal during the week and then our own lunch everyday. so we are getting hot meals for breakfast and lunch everyday, and with 40 people in the house, the cleaning is a group effort and over really fast! there are several teenagers here who are awesome with kids and our boys have had a blast playing w/ their friends and in the ocean. anyway. tons of fun and pics will be up later!
A

Sunday, November 11, 2007

overwhelmed


Why is it when there is so much to do, nothing gets done? i have lists stretching miles it feels like, and i would rather watch youtube videos (hm, not so great), work on PAF (much better), or sleep (the best)... unfortunately, youtube is winning on time spent category. so everyone can skip this post. (better yet, go watch youtube for me, so that i know it is in good hands). this is my way or trying to organize my life right now. jo has finished most of his testing. late last night tho I realized he has an appointment tomorrow, for which we were supposed to give him an enema (ew.... johns job) tonight. i do not know how i have dropped the ball on that one. we will be heading to kroger tonight. so he goes in at 130 tomorrow, and we are hoping that when they finish testing, they will be able to give us a more specific medication for him. the one he is on now is a general "catch all" for the wetting problems. it causes blurred vision and dry mouth. he always is kinda "crusty" around the mouth, i am def. ready to be done w/ the one he is on. there is no diabetes, no liver/kidney problems, but we are STILL waiting on the sonogram. it has been frustrating to me how slowly everything has been moving with this. i do like his doctor though why ANYONE would ever choose to become a urologist is totally beyond me. (John, not a choice, k??) the urologist believes that everything we have been struggling with is because he was premature (11 months younger then brother, 2-3 weeks early) he is tiny, and struggles with almost everything (except humor and rocking. he understands that better than ANYONE!)

overall tho, that is the best diagnosis we could have possibly asked for. we feel very blessed that if that is the case, then these are things he will grow out of.

ok, this week:

1 urologist appt. (in christiansburg)

1 dentist appt (me)

2 eye appts. (jo and M) (in Roanoke) ----- GUESS WHAT JODID ON TUESDAY... (grrr.) he was mad at his glasses because he was pushing on them while he was watching tv (the day i had my boys, + extras 2 that i usually have + 4 extras while mom went on photo shoot...) so i tried to adjust them so they wouldn't dig into his face, he was unhappy with what i did and came in a sec. later to tell me the lens fell out. when i took the glasses from him to fix them, i realized he had literally balled them up and snapped them in half on the part that holds the lens. they are luckily still covered under insurance....)

extras for 24 hours this week

regular job for only 9 hrs this week(!!!)

2 orchestra rehearsals

1 PTO fall festival (does the vp HAVE to go???)

a husband working 345 am - lunch time

2 PTO related meeting

1 parent teacher conference, which means 1 day M doesn't have school, so he comes to work with me

1 early release from elem. school

1 VT football game (which takes most of the day...)

and 20+ loads of laundry, grocery shopping, etc. to get ready for the beach trip we leave for on Sunday. if we can just make it out of town.... we WILL need the break! ok. off to fix the kids lunch. we have 1 primary program in 50 minutes.... whoops!

Friday, November 9, 2007

young wild things



SO... I uploaded these pics a few days ago, intending on journaling the very next day, and it slipped my mind until just now...
I took Diane, my 13 year old *beehive* to go see the young wild things tour the other night (wed, to be precise.) I have gone to a ton of concerts, I love going to shows, and this made my year?? (maybe, Dave was pretty awesome in Sept. when he played at tech) HOWEVER: Dave wasn't an indoor venue. there is something awesome about feeling the bass drum in your chest, and have your ears ringing for days afterwards. I had the best time on earth, but I FEEL SOOOOO OLD:-) Lets see... I picked up Diane at 4 and took her to dinner. She had never been to a concert before, and her parents got her a set of tickets for her 13th birthday. her older sister Melanie was supposed to take her but couldn't get out of play rehearsal. Diane mentioned in passing a few weeks ago that she needed someone to take her to see FOB so her dad wouldn't have to. I volunteered IMMEDIATELY! Her dad was more then happy to turn over his ticket, so off we went for our adventure. we got to Roanoke, and got lost trying to find parking (all fun and games!) we finally figured out where the parking garage was, and I have only parked there maybe 20 times, (in my defense, we didn't go straight there because we were trying to figure out which garage the shuttle was running from), then we headed to the civic center. we got there pretty early and got great floor standing places. cute is what we aim for was the first band. they were pretty good, but i was to impatient to appreciate them fully. i will have to check them out when I am not waiting to hear 3 other bands that i know the words to their songs and love them. plain white t's played second, and i love groups that i can relate to musically. hey there Delilah was such a super song, and so i learned how to play it, so when plain white t's came on, i was really excited. (they look SO young, but i digress, i am old...) they played all the songs i love (Delilah, Hate, friends don't let friends...) it they were great. gym class heroes played third (cupids chokehold/breakfast in america) (for Lauren, its a remake of a supertramp song) they were so fun. they were also incredibly random. there was a guy in a fat costume, a guy waving a flag, and then the guys singing. oh, and they came out to soulja boy, so that was pretty random as well. BUT, they were funny. he at 1 pt. told all the parents to put there hands up. very few did, then he yelled at the kids abt how they wouldn't be there/own the music, etc. w/o the parents. then more parents put there hands up. he told us to skip work the next day and tell our bosses gym class heroes said it was ok (if only, work was SOOO rough the next morning, but THAT is a completely different story). FINALLY fall out boy took the stage. it was so awesome, bc Diane didn't know the other bands, so the whole night the anticipation was building. she was so excited, and it was really fun to watch her trying to stand on her toes so she wouldn't miss ANYTHING. unfort. we were on the floor, and it was hard for her to see most of it, but we both had a great time. I don't know how long they played, but the whole set was amazing. they played all my favs, im like a lawyer (me and you), grand theft autumn, this aint a scene, etc. we had such a great time! anyway, i loved it! and la, you should further educate yourself and keep us w/ us um, not quite as old as you *kids*... (just kidding, i am sure you know all the words to every song i mentioned know that you know their names... i always was super impressed by that!) ok... loved it!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Ambitious




Today is election day so i have the boys all home today. I also have the sweet "extras" that i keep here. my house is a MESS, my lovely sister in law, husband, and her 2 sweet babies are coming up for a visit on Friday, and this is my only day "off" work... i have lists of things to *try* to get done today, and am so totally unmotivated to try any of them. I mentioned in passing to T earlier this week that on his day off from school, we would get some baking done (he LOVES to help cook). he has a list of things he wants to make today: brownies, pumpkin bread, "goldfish popcorn chicken", pumpkin cookies w/ choc. chips., "popcorn lifesavers" (cooked on the grill, of course... (what???) , and the boys i watch are voting for cupcakes.... i have exactly 6 eggs, 6 kids, and not enough patience... there will, I am sure, be pictures later.
hmmm... ok. my kids are very perceptive. (darn it..) and pay attention to EVERYTHING. (again, darn it) I have learned that i cannot say something w/o spying ears, and we are way past being able to spell anything. so now T wants to know who i am voting for president, and why people thing Hillary is playing the "gender" thing. (i think he was looking for the word card there.) WHAT??? since when do 7 year olds pay attention to politics?
anyways, as i was thinking about my kids, i made this mental list of things i have decided my kids think:
couch cushions, shoes, coats and backpacks BELONG on the floor. they have no other home or place they belong.
whining gets exactly what you want. all the time. right now
checks and credit cards buy anything you want, you just write the checks for the amount you want
when sent to clean the playroom downstairs, it is ok to play the whole time instead, as long as they don't come upstairs and play.
tattling ALWAYS helps
blaming the youngest ALWAYS works.
here are things I have learned:
only 1 room in the house can be clean at any 1 time. (the theory of relative speed of toddler vs. aged hobble of parents.)
baby wipes clean everything (kids, floors, toilet seats, cars (but not the windows so much), etc.)
boys feet stink. all the time, even when bathed everyday.
by leaving the vacuum in the middle of the dirtiest room, you can always claim you were "just abt. to vacuum" when unexpected company shows up.
kids wet the bed the day you FINALLY wash all the sheets
school is always boring, the teacher is always mean, and they never do anything fun.
a tantruming 2 year old will stop and pose for pictures before resuming tantrums.
uh-oh is the scariest word out of your kids mouth, closely followed by "i was just..."
a 5 year old who listens to urinetown can tell you what exposition is.
kids who watch too much tv can tell you all abt the infomercials and why they just have to have whatever was being sold. ("mom, if you buy this bed, you can jump on it w/o your cup falling over"-T. "Uh, T, you aren't supposed to jump on your bed at all"-me; "yea, but you could!"-t...
so, what have you learned???

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!!


Wow. what a night. Holidays in this family seem to stretch forever. for example, a birthday can last a week, by the time you take cupcakes to class, have a party with friends, a special dinner and cake with siblings, visit grandparents and celebrate (again) with them, a week has past and the birthday has been celebrated like 4 times. Halloween, unfortunately is no different. it started yesterday with M's class party in the a.mm and church party in the pm. Today we had Vans class party, then Ts, followed by Jo (and since i work as a teacher in Vans class, i was there for m's and vans, and since i am room mom w/ other 2 classes, i was there for jo's and John went to t's. so before it is even time to trick or treat, I am DONE with Halloween. anyway, I picked up the kids today with the promise that we would *finally* get a pumpkin to carve. I have been such a slacker this year. we got "booed" several weeks ago and never managed to find time to boo anyone else (much to the boys dismay) and then yesterday they announced we needed a pumpkin to carve, so off we went to a local farm and nursery to pick the perfect pumpkin. needless to say, but 4 pm Halloween afternoon, there was little left to pick from. (i would have been there earlier, but instead i accidentally caused one of my friends to rear end someone kinda hard, but that is a story for a different day...) anyways. we got there, and the ONLY pumpkin left (that wasn't rotting in the fields) was the one by the cash register inside the store. It was beautiful! the owner handed the pumpkin to us for no charge, and gave each of the boys a gourd to take as well and turned us out to play in the hay maze and see the animals. the weather was perfect! high 60's/low 70's. we had an amazing time! we brought our (free!) pumpkin home and carved away. it wasn't great, but we ended up (after 20 mins. of discussion) with a vampire pumpkin, complete with "blood drips". the boys all went as pokemon tonight. T as ash catchem, the pokemon trainer, and the younger three as his pokemon. they were very cute, but of course as soon as i sat them down to get group shots, my battery died and so they all ended up on my 35 mm camera. Oh well! great pumpkin patch pics!

Family reunion!

On Thursday, the boys and I headed to New York for a family reunion/ birthday party for my grandma who turns 80 in a couple of days. We had such a great time! My parents were gracious enough to give us a ride so I didn't have to take the trip by myself (John had class. my mom packed ear plugs. literally.) the 10 hr car trip went pretty well (translation: T, Jo and M played their DS's the ENTIRE car trip... 10 hrs isn't toooo long to play video games, right??). we were totally crammed into the car and the boys had tons of stuff to climb over every time we stopped, and we stopped A LOT.... overall though, it was a great trip. It did however rain almost the entire time and we camped, so that was pretty cold and messy, plus I am sure my parents car is pretty dirty... the boys were bummed we didn't make any fires, but it was just to wet. the party was pretty fun, but mostly it was wonderful to catch up with my cousins and other relatives. We hadn't been to new york since M was 10 months old, so this was LOOOONG overdue. we made it back Monday morning and i was so excited to pull straight into the boys school and drop off the oldest 3 so i could go home and get some laundry done. after a week of wet camping, there was TONS to do.


the boys in the back seat... it was a tight fit!
my dad and his siblings and my super cute grandma!
all my cousins who could make the trip. we are missing 7 of them
6 of the 9 great grand kids
the boys were so glad whenever we stopped and they could get out!