Summer Time, and the Living is Easy!

Our friend Heather was kind enough to invite our family and the Piseco/Jedi Family out to her home in the country to enjoy some lunch, playing, and a splash in her pool.

Some of the kids had fun making their own pizzas.
Jamie making Pizza
Jossy making pizza.
Annie making pizza.
Ben making pizza.

And at least one of the kids just enjoyed eating it.
Nate having Pizza

After pizza, the kids hit the pool. The big kids spent their time in the Howell’s awesome big pool, and the little girls were in a baby pool on the deck.

Ethan spent some time lounging like a lizard on the deck.
Ethan resting

Em didn’t leave the pool till we practically dragged her out.
Emily on raft.

There was lots of watermelon eating, and plenty of sticky faces and fingers.
Campbell eating watermelon.Ben eating watermelon.

Wee baby Jillian sat for ages in her little pool, splashing happily and soaking up the sun.
Jill in the water.

All in all, it was a wonderful afternoon full of fun, friendship, and a whole lot of love.
Girls hugging.

That’s Entertainment!

We spent today hanging out at Chuck E. Cheese while the painters continued to work on getting the outside of the house finished. After several hours of electronic fun at the House of the Lesser Mouse (because no mouse is more mouse than Mickey, of course), Dave picked us up to head to our classes of the night!

The kids had gymnastics while Dave was at the dojo. The Jediclan (are we still using fake names?) were 3/4 present at the dojo since Jediboy studies Karate almost every weeknight, so I picked up Baby Girl to keep me company while I waited at the air conditioned gym for our class to be over.

We spent our time talking, giggling, and sharing snacks at the “Gym of More Food”. I decided to do a little work on the laptop, so she decided to watch some Strawberry Shortcake on the Ipod. I was very amused to hear her little voice pop up next to my ear and say, “Leigh, take a picture of me.”

Baby Girl with an Ipod

This was the first time she’s ever asked me to take a pic, so I indulged a bit and shot several of her doing what she does best…eating and entertaining, all at the same time.
Babygirl with an Ipod

It’s a Technicolor World, so enjoy it!

We got a big box of surprises in the mail today from Steve Spangler Science. The kids were eager to jump right in to playing with their new baby soda bottles and test tube racks. We decided to work with two projects today. The first, and the one that kept them occupied for the longest time, was a good old color-mixing experiment.

The kids started off with empty test tubes, a large beaker flask of water, a pipette, and three fizzy color tabs. They turned the fizzy tabs and water into three tubes of liquid- red, yellow, blue. Then they used those colors and their pipettes to experiment with secondary color combinations in the empty tubes.

After the color experiment, we used some Magic Sand to study the concepts of hydrophilia and hydrophobia.

I think we’re going to love our newly restructured screen-porch Science Lab!

We’ve already started making another order at Steve Spangler. We’re a little obsessed with their Test Tube Experiment Kits. They’re incredibly kid-friendly. Simple enough that the kids can go it alone with minimal adult supervision.

Keeping a running record…

I borrowed the idea of keeping a running record of our day from Alexa. This is my first attempt at charting the flow of an entire day and then blogging the result. Our lives are a bit more busy and productive than I usually imagine them to be, and it’s helpful to be able to look back and actually see the shape of our day from the notes I took.

Continue reading

Our Big City Lives (Part 1)

Our neighbors from the ground up

Today was our first full day as city dwellers.  I woke up very early (before 6) because Nate was running a very high fever, so I ran out to Walmart in the wee dark hours to grab some more Tylenol and Motrin so I could alternate them throughout the day. It was peaceful, quiet, and calm outside our building and I enjoyed the few fleeting moments of stillness before the city woke up and started moving.

Emily took some photos of the view from her room today.  It’s tall, busy, and we’re still amazed by the crazy things on TOP of some of these buildings.  You know, swimming pools, helicopter landing pads, tennis courts, and fully astroturfed yards with swingsets and kids bicycles.  We’re among the tallest buildings in the city, so we look down on many interesting places.
View from Emily's bedroom

By 9am, I was realizing how very out of our depth we are in our new surroundings.  There was something surreal about watching our neighbors load into their limousines with their fancy drivers (I have driver envy, it’s something I NEED) to head off for whatever their day held in store.  I actually held a very nice conversation in the elevator with a lady who was taking her 13 year old dog downstairs to meet his “nanny” before she hopped in her chauffered car to Manhattan.  The nanny would then be responsible for walking the dog, letting it potty, then entertaining (her word, not mine) the sweet puppy for the rest of the day. 

So, yeah, a different world here.  Before lunch, the whole family went down for some time in the pool and hot tub.  The two smaller kids did all of their swimming in the hot tub because it was more shallow and the floatation belts I ordered have not yet arrived at the building. 

I made 9 trips out today to Target, Walmart and B&N.  We ate leftover pasta and meatballs for lunch. 

Then, the city decided that our arrival was so wonderful that they would through us a parade to celebrate.  And, what the heck, since they were celebrating our move they might as well do a little recognition of Columbus, the Italian-American culture and Moose(Meese?) Lodges.

Chris and friends


After the parade, there were long naps and more shopping. Some television watching and recovering from illness were also on the agenda. Tonight everyone went to bed early to recover from the busy month past, and to anticipate the exciting week ahead.

I’m fairly certain this is going to be a roller-coaster ride of crazy for the next 6 months.

Boys and their crazy toys…

When Nate got up at 6am to accompany Dave and me over to the Kinnally homestead, he never imagined that he would find himself playing fireman for the morning, complete with high-pressure hose and whirring sirens.

Fire Truck

The Papa Kinnally (named thus by Anna, never just Papa Kinnally…always THE Papa Kinnally) is a volunteer fireman in his town, and does a weekly drive and test of the equipment. While the boys were busy building a bonfire, putting the pig on it’s pit, and messing about in the yard, the Papa Kinnally decided to drive the grass truck down to the farm for some showing off.

Nate smiling in the grass truck

Nate took a spin around the farm. This included some fun off-roading through the woods with the lights and siren roaring. His smile got bigger every minute that he spent in the truck. By the time that the truck stopped, he was bouncing in the seat and giggling wildly. When the door opened, he jumped out and did his Snoopy Dance of Extreme Joy.

Nate's Snoopy Dance

Uncle Ryan helped him wait for the hose to fill….Ryan and Nate

And then…BAMMMM….there was water! Nate and Dave with the firehose

The boys had a great time testing their shiny, big toys. Nate explored the truck, played with the fire brooms, and then got to put out an actual fire.

You know it’s going to be an interesting weekend when you here, “This is the best day of my LIFE!” before 8am on Saturday morning.

Super Duper Rochester Fun…

We went up to Rochester this weekend to visit the GrandChens and do some museum time with Aunt Judy

Our family loves the Strong Museum of Play, and we always try to make at least one trip during each quarter to see the newest traveling exhibit. This quarter’s travel exhibit was a visit to Birdwell Island to see Clifford, Emily Elizabeth and the gang. We also got to see the butterflies, play in the new Berenstein Bears land and make a trip through our old favorite places.

Nate got to feed his love of all things dental in the Berenstein’s dentist office.

Nate Playing Dentist

Dave, Judy, and the girls had a wonderful time being butterfly landing pads.

Anna and Butterfly

Dave and Emily with Butterflies

Judy with butterfly on purse

While we were on Birdwell Island, Nate got caught in Clifford’s food bowl. It was a close call, but he didn’t get eaten!

Nate and the Bones

Overall, we had a great trip and can’t wait to get back.

These kids are not afraid of heights.

Dave finally got our new climbing wall finished. Actually, he’d had the wall built for quite a while, but we finally got the grips in the mail and he put them up last night while the kids and I were out for ice cream and park time with our Chesso friends.

Of course, the girls had to climb today even in the slippery and cold rain. They’re natural-born monkeys, and I had to bite my tongue to keep from squealing when they turned to wave from half way up the wall, leaving them hanging one-handed while they waved their arms.

I convinced them to come back inside because my camera was getting damp, but they had to finish one last climb before we left the rain behind.

I’m so proud of my crazy monkeys, and we’re all proud of Daddy for building them the awesome climbing wall.

Old McDonald Had A Farm…

We spent our day today visiting farmers and their animals and wares in the most unusual of situations. Today was the annual Farm Days celebration inside the local shopping mall.

Our friends the Piseco Peeps were supposed to pick us up and explore the festival with us, but they were having bouts of feeling generally unwell, so we made it out on our own….


We started in the mall proper, and the kids took a quick ride on petal tractors near the doors.

After a moment, we made some crafty cotton ball sheep.
It was just after taking that picture with our fuzzy sheep that Nate began freaking out and bouncing around and screaming, “JediBoy, JediBoy and PisecoMom”* at the top of his lungs. I thought he had seen them somewhere in the mall because they’d decided to join us belatedly, but then realized that he wasn’t quite seeing what I’d expected. Instead, we’d found the following on the board the kids were posing in front of for their photo op.After our excitement wore off, we continued through the mall and enjoyed such varied activities as tasting Stone Soup and watching a sheep get her winter coat sheared.

It was a grand day, and we came home with loot bags full of crafts, snacks, and assorted treasures.

For more pictures, you can check out the album…

What a crazy, cool day.

Since our swimming lesson was tossed aside due to parade blockage of the road, we tossed all our plans for the day up in the air and winged it completely.

We went to The Spot for a delicious lunch, then drove out to Black Bear Winery and picked up some booze. On the way back from the Winery we stopped at Coldstone Creamery for some super-de-duper ice cream creations.

It was a super-expensive but incredibly fun afternoon.

Post-fun time, I mopped the kitchen and took a reading break. Then we loaded up the van full of kids and headed off to Wegmans for groceries. After spending even more money, we came home and absolutely crashed. The kids ate random bits and pieces of leftovers and filled in the corners with rotisserie chicken.

There has been some watching of DVR’ed television and some wishing for sleep to hit the kids.

Through all of this, there’s been a tiny electrical spark of excitement because it’s less than 24 hours till the Piseco Clan end up in Guatemala to pick up their baby girl.

Oh, what a wonderfully tiring day.