Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A New Tradition...probably not!

I'm not sure we ever bought a Christmas tree when I was a kid.  We would just head out on the property and look for a tree and then drag it back home.  We usually ended up with a Red Cedar, not my favorite because it was so prickly.  But, I remember the process fondly.  So, this year, despite some objections from the rest of my family, I loaded us up into the car to go cut down our own tree.  

About 5 minutes into the process, we were not finding anything reasonable left in the field, so the boys were frustrated and done.  Rachel had, unfortunately, worn her brand new Converse shoes, and it was pretty muddy.  She just couldn't let it go and felt very upset that they were getting dirty.  At this point, I considered leaving to head to church to just grab one there.  But, we headed to another field that was much more full of trees.   It was hard to find one the right size, but we eventually found this one, even though it was a little shorter than we would have preferred.  


So, we got to work cutting it down.  The boys were very excited to help.  But, it was muddy on the ground, the tree was prickly, and it was hard to saw.  So, Alex and Zack gave up after less than a minute.  Matthew, though, kept trying.  He wasn't making much progress, but at the very least, he gave us a break.  It turns out that trunk size is an important consideration for deciding on a tree.  Ours was quite large, so it was a challenge.  I think we have a particularly hardy tree, though, because the man straightening the bottom with a chainsaw was having some trouble, as well.



Dave creating a Survivor-like challenge - who can stand the longest on the stump on one foot.





Finally, we got the tree down.  Matthew got the honors of trying to cut the remaining edge.  And, then, he and Alex helped Dave carry the tree back to the car.



Afterwards, we let the kids play on all the extras they have there.  They rode the slides, jumped on the air pillow, did the bamboo maze, played tetherball, etc.  It was all fun - until Rachel jumped as Zack got in front of her smacking his mouth on a large tire.  His mouth was bleeding and his tooth was loose.  A couple pulls and out came that tooth.  Zack, in classic Zack fashion, was milking his injury for as much attention as possible.  He was upset, Rachel was lamenting her dirty shoes, Matthew was starving, my camera wasn't working, and I was wondering why I thought was a good idea.  To make matters worse, when we got home, the large trunk did not fit into our tree stand.  I had to go to 3 stores before I could find one to fit.  Next year, I think we'll just head to the church.





All said and done, though, it is our Christmas tree.  We decorated it last night and it looks good - a little bogged down with ornaments.  And, after some more frustrating minutes with my camera, I was able to figure out what was wrong with it.  Not many pictures from the evening, but I love this one of my new-smile Zack




Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Catching Up

I've been a slacker on this blog, but I had a few random good photos from the last few months that I wanted to share.

First, Neil and Martina and family came in early August.  It was a quick visit, but we enjoyed spending as much time with them as possible.  The girls all went out shopping the Crawl - a 30+ mile strip of yard sales along Route 11.  It was a pretty unsuccessful trip for us, but Rachel did talk me into our own chocolate fountain.  It proved a very yummy and messy purchase.  

Here, little Drew (who spent the entire week he was here telling me, "I don't love you" completely unprompted) enjoyed my purchase.  I don't think it helped to endear me to him, though.  

My kids really enjoyed their time with their cousins.  Alex always has a good time with Jonathan.  We took him for a couple days while Rachel remained at Gramma and Paka's house to visit with Ashley.

 

Beautiful girls - Josie, Ashley and Rachel


First Day of School

This is a big year for Matthew - Kindergarten.  I think he was excited.  I know that academically he is ready.  I was a little worried about his ability to sit still and obey the rules of the classroom.  To make it even more difficult, he has his two buddies in his class. While they are best friends, he is definitely the leader of the group - usually getting them all in trouble.  After a couple months, he has managed to not get into too much trouble, so I guess he's adjusting.



Trip to DC

As summer was ending, I was feeling guilty that I had not taken the kids to DC.  We live so close, but I just take advantage enough.  One of the biggest problems with DC is that some of the attractions require tickets, so you need to plan ahead.  I just never do that.  Once again, my kids want to go up into the Washington Monument and there are no tickets available.  It would have been a good day to go because the earthquake happened the day after and no one is allowed in for the time being until they fix it.  But, we still enjoyed a few of the exhibits at the Natural History Museum and walked to the WWII monument.  The kids really wanted to see the Lincoln Memorial, but it is just a little too far to walk.  The trip was similar to previous ones - a little fun, a lot of logistics, some attitude, and leftover feeling of wondering why I try to do this.  Maybe next time...




The attitude begins to show....


Riding bikes in a Hurricane? Only my children.  They had a good time, though. You cannot appreciate how hard it was raining in the picture, but it is pouring here.



The Heritage 5K 

Dave was running the half marathon with Tara.  I saw that the 5K had awards for 9 and Under, so I knew that Alex should run it to get a chance to place.  I thought they had a mile for the younger kids.  But, it turned out that the mile was on the day before.  When I told the kids, they were very disappointed and said that they wanted to run the 5K, too.  I told them they were going to need to run with Daddy to see how far it really is.  I kind of joked with Dave that he should drop the car off at the shop and run home with the kids.  I guess he thought that was a good idea, and so off they went.  I was worried because there was no way to turn around if the boys gave up.  As it was getting dark, I got nervous.  So, Rachel and I got in the car and went looking for them.  I couldn't find them and was really getting worried as we passed our house to go on another loop.  They were almost home! It was amazing - 32 minutes or so for just over a 5K.

I planned to run with Zack and Matthew in the race so that I could help keep them going slow at the beginning and help make sure they stayed on track through the whole race.  I was very worried because I had not run much.  But, I figured that I would be fine.  How hard can it be to keep up with a 5-year old in a 3-mile race?  As we started, Zack took off with Alex.  I tried to call him back, but he didn't want to run with me.  Matthew stayed with me a little bit, but within 1/2 mile, he was gone.  He had weaved in and out of people, and I just didn't feel that I could do that.  I figured I would just stay slow and catch up to them when they got tired and slacked off.  As we approached the turnaround, I saw all 3 of the boys in age order.  It was fun to give them a high five and some encouragement.  I saw that they were doing well and pretty far ahead.  So, I picked it up a little.  But, I could not even get them in my sights.  The finish of the race was around the track at the high school.  As I approached the track, I thought I might get to see the boys finish, but no, they were all 3 done and cheering for me.  

I was so impressed with them for pushing themselves through the whole race.  Alex finished in 26:12 with definite room to improve if he can better pace himself.  Zack finished in 27:20 and Matthew 27:41.  This placed them 1st, 3rd, and 4th in the 9 and Under.  Matthew was the only 5 year old in the race.  They are already excited about the next race!  Me, with a 29:04 time, I'll be happy to video tape next time.  Or, maybe I'll train so I can beat my 5-year old.  It might be the only chance I will ever have to beat him.  





Tara finished the half marathon, as Dave cheers her on.  Both Tara and Dave did well.

Friday, October 7, 2011

A new house?

Not quite a new house, but it's beginning to feel a lot better.  We have FINALLY gotten our carpets replaced.  They were super disgusting, but I hated to idea of spending money to replace them if the kids were just going to mess them up again.  But, it had to be done.  We figured we go ahead and replace the floor in the powder room as well.  And, if we're pulling up that floor, we might as well tackle the whole bathroom.  So, that was my project for the last few weeks.  It was a lot of work but the end result is beautiful.  Unfortunately, I don't have before pictures.  I always forget those, but here are the final results.


Hardwood in the foyer and on the steps...


Laminate all upstairs...


Finally, I have no idea where this came from.  I got back from taking Alex to soccer practice, and Matthew had written me a card.  He was upset that he couldn't spell "very much".  He was so cute, and he is definitely not the kid that writes me little notes.  So, I had to capture it!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A tribute to Matthew

My sister-in-law, Alice, wrote this wonderful tribute to our "baby".  He just started Kindergarten without even looking back.  I think she really sums up what makes Matthew so wonderful.  If you're interested in what makes him exasperating, you probably just need to watch the blog for some of my stories.

http://frodoseven.blogspot.com/2011/08/celebrate-good-times-special-award.html

Alice comments on his attempt to skate.  This video below is of him skating the very next time that I took him to the rink.  Still wobbly, but he can stay on his feet.

video

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Haircuts

So, we decided to boycott haircuts over the summer.  The boys wanted to grow their hair long, and school requires them to have short hair.  So, they had a couple months to grow it.  Alex's was really driving me crazy, though.  It was in his eyes, covering his ears and a complete mess every day.  I did decide that I liked it on the long side.  But, with school just over a week away, we needed to get their school hair cuts.  I made the mistake of going to a new place, a Hair Cuttery that was along our route of errands today (rather than going to our normal Hair Cuttery).  I was very disappointed.  I asked them to keep their hair on the long side.  I'm not sure Matthew's could be much shorter without giving him a crew cut.  Alex's cut required me to pull out the clippers and scissors to fix it when we got home - never a good sign.  Zack's was OK, although I would have liked it a little longer.  Oh well.  The great thing about hair is that it grows back.








Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Pranking gone wild


In celebration of Zack and Grace's birthdays, we had a surprise party in the pool.  Grace and Zack were thrown in while still in their jammies (with much resistance from Zack).  Brendan then got his Uncle Dave and knocked him in the pool as well.  Dave told him he would get him back, and I guess Dave and Chris were working on a plan to get Brendan.  They finally decided on a plate full of shaving cream.  Unfortunately, Dave took the opportunity to smash it in Brendan's face without than giving us warning to turn on the video camera.  It was pretty funny, though.  And, Brendan took it like a champ.  As we were preparing to take a picture of the two of them together, Alice gave Brendan the plate to hold.  He snatched the opportunity to smash it in Dave's face.  Again, no video camera.  Then, Brendan got Madeleine (not sure what she had done to deserve that), and he tried unsuccessfully to get Chris.  I have to say that I was impressed with the way they all handled the fun.  It definitely provided us a lot of laughs!





Spinning girl

Here is my very talented niece.  This is 5-year old Lauren, Tara's daughter.  She apparently watched a friend hula hoop and then practiced herself to get this good.  We were all quite impressed.

video

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Retribution

My sister-in-law, Alice, has been giving me a lot of grief lately for the lack of new entries on the Kreitzer Kids blog.  So, for her...




A few moments later...


Ahhhh, retribution!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Madness Begins

Saturday was time trials for the swim team.  We definitely wanted our kids to do swim team to get water safe. I never learned to swim strokes, and I wish that I were more confident in the water.  So, it is a requirement that the kids swim for a little while.  Rachel is not a big fan (despite being one of the best girls her age on our team), so I had promised her that last year was the last year she had to do it.  But, as the season approached, I wanted her to really think about it.  First off, she has some natural talent for it.  Second, she's going to be at the meets anyway.  But, she wanted none of it.  Until, on the first day of practice, Dave had the kids at the pool.  Matthew fell on the way to his "tryout" for the real team.  To get him in the pool, Dave promised him a treat if he would try hard.  Rachel claimed this was unfair because she didn't have a way to earn a treat.  So, Dave said that she could earn treats for the entire family if she joined the team.  Apparently, that's all it took.  Who knew?  She had regrets the next day, though, as she headed to her first practice.  Ha ha ha - she's committed now.

Saturday was the beginning of this craziness of the summer.  We tend to get into swim team, but it takes every day of the week, except Sunday.  But, we like it.  Last year, the kids started off time trials very strong and struggled to meet those times the rest of the season.  I'm hoping the reverse will be true this season.

Matthew had the very first swim of the day.  I was worried a little about it.  I thought he might be nervous about jumping in the pool.  When I went up to him to wish him luck as he was sitting in the chair , he turned to me and said, "I can beat them."  I cracked up and knew that I no longer had to worry.  He is competitive and will fight hard for what he wants.  As it turned out, he came in the middle of the two 5-year olds on our team in Freestyle.  He was not happy!  But, I'm hoping that just sparks him to try harder.  I see big successes in his future.



Grumpy after coming in 2nd on his freestyle


Zack has a little work to do.  I told him it's good to throw time trials so he can set himself up to win his heats during the actual meets.  We're hoping that he will get legal in breaststroke and/or butterfly this year.  As a 6 and under, he will get plenty of ribbons and awards.  But, his team is hurting for 8 and under boys, so he has the potential to score for the team this year if he can get a little bit faster or legal in the hard strokes.



 

Goggle face
 Alex definitely has some swimming talent.  He did very well, even though he moved up to swimming 50's as a 9 year old.  I wasn't sure how he would do right out the blocks, but he did great.  He told me early in the meet that breaststroke was his stroke.  I don't know where he got that.  He has done it well, but his form needed a little work last year.  I told him that I thought he had a pretty stroke in freestyle and his butterfly was good, too.  But, he insisted that breaststroke was his stroke.  Well, he was at least right that he is doing well in that stroke.  He surprised me with a much longer stroke this year, and it looked beautiful.  There are plenty of 10-year olds on the team that will score ahead of him, but he should do well this year.
Intense, as always

Rachel did unexpectedly well last year at time trials and the first meet in backstroke.  She swam a great race - super straight with beautifully extended arms.  She was then always seeded in the top heat and had a hard time swimming that fast.  She has such long arms and legs and feet that she can look really pretty when she swims.  I think that she could do really well if she worked on all the little things that make good swimmers into great swimmers.  She did well at the meet.  She was really nervous about having to do a 50m butterfly.   I don't blame her.  That stroke is hard.  But, she went out and fought through that thing without DQing.  I was proud of her because she did not want to do it, but she did well.  I'm hoping that more than doing well this year, she can learn to enjoy it.  I hope she can find a couple friends on the team that help her want to come to practice and the meets.  







I'm going to apologize up front for the number of swim pictures I'll post over the next few weeks.  It really does take over our lives.