Monday, August 31, 2009

A Fountain of Fun Friday

We had a great weekend. On Firday we had plans to have this big bbq with a bunch of friends, let the kids go swimming and just have a good time, but the day of everyone got sick. Suddenly planless we scrambled for something to do. Sometimes it is painful trying to plan something, either because it's too far away, or it's too much money, or things just don't fall into place fast enough. Well this was turning out to be one such an evening until I remembered something fun. The Fountains (a local shopping center) hold free concerts each Friday night during the summer. I love this place. Most of the stores are way about my spending limits, so I don't even dare walk inside of them, but the atmosphere of the area is so fun and the kids had never been there, so off we went. The weather was perfect, the kids were wonderful and Eric and I enjoyed just being together.

All three boys loved the fountain in the middle of the square. They thought the mist was so cool. And as it became dark the light turned on in the water which was 'freakin' awesome!' (which is one of the new favorite phrases around our house.)

Then Tanner spotted the giant moose. It was all over from there. He loved it. He talked to it, petted it, cried when we left it and pleaded with us to take him back to it all night long. Austin met the moose too, but wasn't as impressed as Tanner.
They also found a small pack of wolves and Ty rode a butterfly.
There was dancing happening as well and I am so bummed that I didn't get a picture or movie of it because I was holding Austin. But they had a teacher who taught the crowd the dance to Thriller. Ty actually got up and learned it, and was really good! He was one of the smaller little guys out there, and totally held his own. I was really proud of him. And about 10 min. after that when everyone was dancing on their own, we looked around trying to find Tanner in the crowd. He was no where to be found. The panic started to make my insides tighten with fear when I saw a little guy on stage. Guess who, yep, it was Tanner. Go figure. Shaking his booty. You weren't suppose to be on stage, so when he saw Eric walking over to him he took a flying leap into the crowd and landed on the ground. He is going to be such a fireball when he gets older. Oh wait, he already is. And Austin, as always, was a perfect little baby all night long.

Happy kids make happy parents too. So overall we had a wonderful spontaneous, cost free night with more priceless memories to add to the Lawrence collection of family fun. This weekend.... the fair!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Oh Boy

Having three boys I often get asked 'How do I do it'. I always just laugh at that comment and normally reply with, 'Three is nothing, we want four.' That normally ensues a variety of looks from piety, to horror and sometimes even a moment of silence probably as they pray for my future.

I am only sort of kidding :) But this morning I was holding Austin and talking to Eric before he left for the day and by the end of the conversation this is what the scene looked liked. Tanner wasn't throwing a fit or evening making a noise at all. He just wrapped him self up around my leg and stayed there. Even though there are only two out of three kids here, I want to add this picture to 'My life with boys'. Isn't it grand?

Thursday, August 27, 2009


Austin is getting so big. He walks everywhere now, and if he falls he doesn't loose momentum as he finishes his goal of getting to where ever he is going with a "jungle boy" type crawl. Too cute. He loves to kick a ball. It's fun to watch because while we are at Ty's soccer practice, there's little Austin on the sideline kicking a ball almost half his size. I'll try to grab a picture of it next practice. But his main love in life right now is food. All kinds of food. He'll eat and eat, and normally I have to cut him off in fear that he'll get a tummy ache. Along with that we have been teaching him signing for several months now like we did the other boys. We always start with signs associated with food. With Austin the first two signs have been food and more. Recently I started to add in done and water. Once he is consistent with those we'll add in please and help and keep going from there. While he isn't signing the signs back yet, at least not without help, he sure knows what they mean. Today he was back in his room playing and I was in the kitchen making lunch. I called out to him and used the key words food and more, and he came flying out of his room right into the kitchen, sat at my feet and started clapping his hands (another super cute thing he does that I need to catch on film, wow, I need to make a list!). When I put him in his chair with his food on the tray he just went to town. If he keeps eating like this, he's going to be huge!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

First Day of Kindergarten

The Three Steps To Kindergarten

Step One
- 1 backpack
- 1 pack of tissues
- 1 water bottle
- 1 apple sauce & spoon
- 1 big box for glue and crayons
- 1 pencil box hand decorated by Ty
- 1 pair of scissors
- 1 rose for the teacher
- 2 bottles of glue
- 4 glue sticks
- 10 #2 regular pencils
- 1 extra sparklie pencil
- 10 fat markers
- 10 skinny markers
- 12 colored pencils
- 24 crayons

Step 2
Family Love
- hug from Mom and Dad
- hug from Tanner
- hug from Austin
- hug from Anya and Shtiya (the dogs)

Step 3
Make it to school
- meet the teacher
- make new friends
- give two big thumbs up because....


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Creativity is the Name of the Game

Today was one of those days when we did very productive and creative things. After I had accomplished a bunch of work for my photography before Eric went into work on his half day I needed a change of pace, so out came the paint brushes. The kids and I started by painting the fireplace. I'm normally not brave enough to let my kids help me paint something inside, but I figured with the ledge that would also be painted, there wasn't much harm in letting them help. The fireplace was a dingy grey color and since we had painted the walls a warm cream some time ago, I couldn't help but notice how out of place the color on the bricks looked. I was hoping to have it painted a color slightly lighter than the walls to make it pop, but as this was a no cost project, I had to use whatever I already had on hand, which was limited. I played it safe and matched the color already on the walls. The kids only lasted about 5 min, which was perfect, and the whole project only took about an hour. And I love the results, I just wonder why I hadn't done it sooner.

While I finished, the kids explored their creative side. Apparently our little pools out back have no appeal to the boys any more because they have resulted to buckets. It's a tight squeeze, but apparently does the trick. Who knew?

The I attempted to work some more on recovering my couch. This is a huge project that has taken me two years to even start because I didn't know how to start. It's coming along okay, it's just a lot harder than they make it look on the home network station on TV. I quickly gave up because I really need to do it when I'm kid free.

So I went back to the paint can. Along with the couch that had taken years to get started on, my living room has also been longing for a fresh coat of paint, and I'm going bold. Eric and I tackled this one and we have 1 and 1/2 walls left, so I'll show you the final result tomorrow, but it's looking.... blue.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

This past week has consisted of wrapping up our summer schedule. We have one week off then Ty starts school! I can't believe he's going to Kindergarten already. I am so excited. Many of his friends started school last week because they are in various districts around here, and all the moms have talked about the tears, or almost water spillage, but I am tear free and bursting with excitement. Oh, and Ty is too. So I've taken a little time off from work to get ready for school and this fall, and catch up on a few items of business that have been lingering or needing finalizing, but I did manage to take some pictures for friends this week, because lets be honest, when does work really ever stop?

I finally made it over to my friends to get some pictures of her new little one born last month. She is beautiful and while it was a quick shoot, we got some great candids with her and her sister too.

Then I made it out to the other little Austin's house for some fun outdoor pictures. He wasn't super happy that morning (I think it was nap time) but we got this great picture and I love the background. I think I'll try to stop by again next week after he has had a nap for the day and get a few more pictures because if this is what he looks like tired, I can't wait to get some with his after he's rested.

But what would a week worth of pictures be with out one from my own home right? I caught Ty just hanging around this week, smiling and toothless. My 5 year old has grown so much, he is a wonderful help around the house. The biggest problem we have with him is getting him to stop laughing long enough to eat his dinner or fall asleep at night. Silly boy. But seriously, if that's the worst he's got, I'll take it every day!

Friday, August 14, 2009

They got it right!!

I had this Time Magazine delivered to us some time ago and thought the cover story looked intriguing. But with many things that come into my life, the time to actually sit down and read it disappeared. So I shuffled to magazine off to my mother because I knew she would find the time to read the story and give me a quick review. I knew she wasn't a huge fan of the magazine because she felt the views are typically heavily weighted on one side. Regardless, she took it and read. The results surprised me. She came back with rave reviews and astonishment at the contents this article possessed. Interesting.

So now, again, sometime later, I am just getting around to reading the article myself. I too was astounded by the findings from liberal, single women relating to the traditional two-parent family. How could a bunch of liberals decide that divorce and single parenting are a detriment to our children? Well, here's how. They studied the facts. And you know what? God was right. Two-parent, stable homes are the best for children. Who knew?
He did. And sometimes mainstream press gets it right. Read the article for yourself and let me know your thoughts.

Is There Hope for the American Marriage?

Friday, August 7, 2009

One, Two, FIFTEEN!

So Little A is walking all over. It varies from just four steps and a tumble to turning around and watching him walk across the room. I've officially counted up to 15, but the novelty is wearing off (pour third child syndrome is already kicking in) just kidding, but I only count once in a while, and everyday it's more and more then sometimes it's none. After a few weeks of this, I figured I should document the event before he turned 9 months old. Of course, it wasn't his best night, he was much more interested in playing with the camera than walking for it, but you get the idea. Next milestone.... a simple lay-up. HA

Also, his crawling is very impressive as well. He'll spot something, decide to get over there, barrel his head down and take off. Zoom, he gets there soooo fast. I'll try to catch that too, it's really funny to watch.

From the Ocean, to the Mountains

Last week we had a family vacation. Eric and I think it was the first true family trip with the boys that we've ever done without some event included in the trip like holidays or birthdays, and without staying at a family members house. And it was the adventure, let me tell you.

We packed up Saturday morning with a small snag and a trip to the ER. My mom came over to help watch the boys as Eric and I wrapped up the last few items and loaded the car. I asked her to please water the garden before we left so she grabbed Austin and out she went. It seemed to be taking her a long while to water the plants, but I was getting so much done I didn't think twice about it. When I had made it back in I noticed she was sitting in the kitchen with a rag on her foot. I asked if she needed something and to make a long story short and less bloody, we had to take her to the ER because she rolled her foot and landed on a dried orange branch which had spikes all over it and a huge 1+ inch spike went right into the inside of her foot. Yuck! But they got it out and she was doing fine.

So then we headed down to the Monterey and stopped at the Children's Museum in San Jose. It was so much fun. The kid played with huge bubbles, shooting water and all kinds of other neat educational and fun things. We arrived there a little later than we wanted but then we stayed until it closed. I think the kids really enjoyed it as they had never experienced something as big as that with as many hands on things. It is somewhere we will be going to again.

The next day we headed down to the ocean. I think my kids could play on the beach all day if I would let them. It was a cool day, but other than that the weather was perfect. Eric and I headed down to Canary Row for lunch and had some award winning clam chowder in a bread bowl over-looking the bay. Perfection. Oh I am getting hungry just thinking about the the soup though. It was creamy but not too heavy with the perfect blend of seasoning and herbs. The bread was crunchy and buttery on the outside yet light and fluffy in the middle and was topped with garlic, parsley and butter on the top. Ummmmm, hang on, I'll be right back, I just going to drive down there for another bite real quick... be right back -

Well, I can always wish right? Our hotel in Monterey was awesome. It's a must stay if you are going to be down there. It is right on the ocean, and has its own beach in front. When Eric and I stayed there some 6+ years ago, I remember the tide came in so high that night it was hitting up against the hotel wall so loud it was hard to sleep. As I was putting Austin down for his nap I saw a seal swimming by in the sea just outside my window. The kids couldn't believe their luck that they could see the ocean all day from the room. We hit the aquarium on our final day to end the ocean visit. It was the kids first time and they LOVED IT! The sea horse exhibit was whimsical and the jelly fish exhibit was spectacular as always. Tanner liked the penguins and Ty held a hermit crab. All three boys touched star fish and we all loved the otters. By the end of the day, we were ready to go, but the memories made that weekend were priceless.

With only one nights rest we turned around and headed up the mountain this time to join my parents in Tahoe, or as the Lawrence family calls it, Lake Taco. We camped at a site called Fallen Leaf, and I promise I will never camp anywhere else if I can help it. I was truly a little slice of heaven. The site was so clean and basically bugless. There is access to Fallen Leaf lake, and right across the way is Lake Taco. The kids loved exploring in nature. We saw lots of chipmonks, some beautiful birds and even a bear. Yup, we saw a bear.

I have never had that experience that I can recall while camping. I know they always tell you, 'Lock up your food and watch out for bears' every time you check in, but the chances of having one visit you always seems rare. Apparently, this bear chose to change this thought for me. The first night we arrived is when this exciting event happened. We had just finished dinner and I had put Austin to bed when we heard in the distance the clanging of pans. My dad jumped to it and started the clean up. My mom and I lagged because we wanted to confirm the noise was an actual warning and not someone cleaning their dinner up. After some debate over the matter a group circled around our campsite with flashlights and headed up the opposite was on the next camp road. As we stood watching, again trying to figure out if this was real or if it was a hoax, we heard a woman yell, 'stay back, stop, stay back.' Was she trying to stop the silly kids causing everyone unnecessary worry or was she sounding out a warning, I wasn't sure. My confusion quickly turned to a very clear picture when all the flash lights turned beaming onto me and my family and the words of the other campers became very clear to us as the yelled 'It's right there! It's right there!' The bear was coming right for us. I grabbed Ty and Tanner and started for the car when I had a fleeting moment of panic realizing Ausitn was asleep in the tent a good 40 feet from me and the car was in the opposite direction. But as I voice my concern Eric ran for the tent and got the baby and joined us in the car safely. The bear stopped at our bear box, and hung out for a minute. After banging at the box and realizing it was sealed shut he moved on. Needless to say, it was a very sleepless night for us know something could happen again, although gratefully we never saw old smokey again.

The rest of camping wasn't as eventful, but still very enjoyable, and much more laid back than the bear incident. I think the boys rode their bike 75% of every day. They also fished and swam in the lake, played games and ate a bunch of food. By the end of the week a group of friends my dad has know since high school and college joined us. It was neat to see old friends back together and my boys enjoyed having new subjects to entertain! We had such a wonderful time it was hard to leave at the end of the week.

So now we are home and all the laundry has been washed and put away. It took me a good 48 hours to recoup from the excursion but I am already longing for the next Lawrence adventure.

Check out galleries from our trip here