Friday, October 29, 2010

Firefighting Scouts

When the Cub Scouts met last Sunday afternoon, the boys received a lesson in fire safety from Nick's dad, Mike. Mike is a real, live Austin firefighter, and the boys had lots of fun dressing up in his firefighting clothes. They learned that firefighters have to be very, very strong, because these clothes are heavy, let alone the oxygen tank they wear as a backpack. I can't imagine having to carry a person, too, on top of these clothes!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!
Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Proud-Daddy Day

I had a fascinating night with Alexander last night... I had gone to the store and bought these books:

And I'll be returning them shortly, Alexander was able to answer every single question in both books that I asked him.. I have a few at the end of the Gifted book I want to make sure I get to, but he has them down cold. What does it mean when your child is beyond gifted?

Seriously, he did a good job and I'm proud of him.

I then read him a chapter in this book... but first, he spent almost 10 minutes describing to me in graphic detail what had happened previously in the book. I sat there quietly being a very good listener and absorbed every word he said, but I just kept wondering how he remembered all the details of the story. Again, I was very impressed.

But the moment of the day came earlier when I picked Alexander up from Tae Kwon Do class. We were walking down the hallway and out of NO WHERE he just said, "Daddy, instead of playing video games tonight, can we go extra math?" A woman that heard just laughed and you could tell she was impressed, and milk damn-near shot out of my nose in surprise (and I wasn't even drinking milk ;-)

So definitely a proud-Daddy-day for me.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Chris and Al's Shed Party

On Sunday morning, the extended family of Team Danger gathered at my in-laws house for a Shed Painting Party.

Alex grumbled that it really wasn't "much of a party," but still, the kids had fun.

The five of them - including Connor- had fun on the "jumperene" (as Ryan calls it).

And we even had some assistance from the smallest helpers.

When we were finished, we all added our handprints to the back of the shed.

A successful morning well spent!

Monday, October 25, 2010

My Little Volturi

Many moons ago, my brother was a vampire for Halloween.

And shocker of all shockers, my mom still had the cape.

Last visit, she brought it for the boys to wear.

Alex was pretty excited - hey, its a cape - how can it NOT be cool in his book?!

And I was equally excited. Because, as a mother of a Volturi ...

I'm one step closer to Edward. 

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Fall Festival and Parties

Saturday may go on record as having been the busiest day ever for Team Danger!

We started at 7:45 a.m. taking pictures for Alex's soccer team.

Next, Aresenal played an incredible game, winning 3-2.Alex scored 2 of our 3 goals!

Then we were off to the YMCA's Fall Festival. Alex climbed up a 55 foot high tower to then to on the longest zip line we've ever seen.

He loved it!

He and Ryan also had fun in a giant boxing ring, got their faces painted as Iron Man and SpiderMan, and got balloon swords and scabbards.

Which popped pretty quickly... right before it started to pour on us.

So the $10 in face painting was money well, spent. Then it was home for a quick shower to get the face paint off Ryan which he had wiped off in the rain in a spectacular mess, before heading to Ayanna's 1st birthday party (my cousin Patrick's daughter). Mom and Auntie CherO had driven in from Houston for the day, so we got to visit with them, too, for a short while. Here is Ryan celebrating at the party. ;)

Then he and I had a "quick" drive from Ayanna's party on East 22nd Street to the My Gym in southwest Austin on 290.  When I RSVP'd to all these parties, I had googled my distances and it should have taken me about 10 minutes to make the drive between the two spots. But... we're not exactly football people, so it never even occurred to me that I needed to consider the fact that my 10 minute drive through around downtown needed to occur at 3:00 p.m., otherwise known as a few minutes after the UT game let out.

It was not a pretty scene in my car, let me tell you. If I hadn't had a semi-hysterical Ryan in the backseat, upset we were missing Ethan's party, I would have so bailed and just headed home. Might I suggest that one never, ever plan a driving tour through central Austin when UT is playing at home.

But we made it, only 35 minutes late. And Ryan had a blast with Ethan and his friends.

Then we drove back home to collect Alex and Carl, change into Halloween costumes, and head over to Dave and Staci's for our annual pre-Halloween party so all the cousins can play together.

This year Bailey was in on the Star Wars fun, dressed as Padme Amidala. Here she is having shot the evil bounty hunters, Boba Fett and Jango Fett (with an Iron Man face mask, nonetheless).

Brooke was a pink jaguar, and Connor was a skeleton. He's rebelling against most costumes right now, so Elaine considered it a success to get him in these jammies.

We had fun Halloween food to eat, and everyone had a great time!


Our contribution was the chocolate marshmallow pretzel spiders. They came out pretty good, although our first attempt Friday night was a disaster. But here is what Alex and Carl were doing while Ryan and I were driving through the UT crowds:

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Hobbit

When I was growing up, my father used to read JRR Tolkien's 'The Hobbit' to me and my brother at bedtime. Both Beau and I treasure these memories, as well as watching the old Frank Bashki animated films of these which we owned on the long-forgotten, short lived video disc player.

The last time the three of us were together before Dad died was for Dad's 61st birthday, and we all saw 'Fellowship of the Ring' together in the theater. It had come out that December, so we had all seen it before, separately. But we couldn't let a chance to see it together pass it by. Knowing Beau and Dad, seeing it on January 24 was probably the 3rd or 4th viewing for each of them.

The Peter Jackson films were phenomenal, and Dad absolutely loved Tolkien's words brought to the screen so perfectly. Beau and I have been excited that plans had been announced a few years ago for Peter Jackson to produce 'The Hobbit,' but there had been a lot of strife about it, primarily with the director. A month ago, the attached director, Guillermo del Torro left, and rumors started to fly that Peter Jackson would direct it, as he had the three LOTR films.

A few days ago, that rumor became official. I was already pretty excited about this news. So imagine my excitement last night when my favorite actor, Richard Armitage, was announced as having been cast as Thorin Oakenshield. Its a huge, huge role for him, the biggest he's had so far. Richard is all but unknown in the States. He first captured my attention when he played John Thornton, the Master of Malborough Mills in 'North and South.' I first saw it in 2006, so my love affair, if you will, with Richard has been going on since about the time Ryan was born.

He's had other parts in British shows since then, some of which make it to BBC America or PBS, and some of which I beg and plead with British friends to send me bootleg copies. He had romanced and married the Vicar in the 'Vicar of Dibley,' stole the show from 'Robin Hood' as the chief baddie, Sir Guy of Gisborne, in the tv show, and has also been the lead in 'Spooks' (known as MI-5 here in the US) and 'Strike Back.' And I confess to having paid an obscene amount of money to purchase my own Little Guy action figure when they released the toys in the UK (obscene because of shipping prices). Little Guy sometimes gets a bit jealous that he isn't as tall as Little Edward, but he makes himself feel better that he has super-poseable arms and legs.

Richard's been my little secret for the past four years. OK, one shared with some other friends and a lot of Britain, but he hasn't made much of an impact over here. I suspect that will all change soon. So while a part of me is sad to see him go viral and know that I'll have to share him with the world, I'm hopeful this will lead to more successful roles for him, and preferably in films I'm more interested in seeing. 'Spooks' and 'Strike Back' are much more Carl shows than Annalynn shows, but, you know, I've persevered to watch a very hot, very talented actor. Such a hardship. sigh... Here's to some more romantic dramas and comedies, Richard!

And here's a link to a fan video made by my friend Heather. I'm probably responsible for a large chunk of her 286,000 views!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Halloweens Past

This year for Halloween, the boys elected to be Star Wars characters.


Alex will be Jango Fett, and Ryan will be his son, Boba Fett. Two bounty hunters, off to trick and treat for bounty. Alex came up with the idea, and got Ryan to go along with it. Jango Fett has the much cooler costume, so I wasn't sure that would fly. But Alex can be pretty persuasive, and managed to get Ryan to think HE came up with the idea. What can I say? Some days he takes after Daddy and looks like he'll be an engineer, other days he is all my son.

We had a Star Wars Halloween last year, as well.

Ryan was Commander Rex (from the animated Clone Wars tv show) and Alex was Young Anakin (also from the Clone Wars tv show).

And moving back in time, we've had:

2008: Supermen

2007: The Knight and the Dragon

2006: My Own Pumpkin Patch (also known as the year I dragged the boys to three different pumpkin patches in full costume trying to capture the perfect picture of them at a pumpkin patch, before finally giving up and dragging them to Kiddie Kandids on October 30 to hand them over to the experts). Ryan was just barely sitting up, nine months old, and he fell forward about a second after this was taken. Good memories.

2005: The Alex-Gator (no Ryan yet!)


2004: The Itsy Bitsy Spider

2003: My Baby Bat

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

USS Lexington

This weekend, Alex, Carl and the Scouts went camping on the USS Lexington in Corpus Christi.

Alas, no children under five were allowed, much to Ryan's chagrin. But we had fun hanging out together, and he had his first official playdate. The kind where I get to drop him off at his friend Drew's house for a few hours and leave him. So far, he's only had the playdates where the Mommys and Daddys come along. But he had a lot of fun at his new friend Drew's house. Drew is on Ryan's soccer team, and his older brother, Brian, is on Alex's team. The boys all bonded magically, and its quite nice that they have someone to play with during their brother's soccer practices and games.

 And here is a little Arsenal vs. Chelsea scrimmage between the four boys.

Unfortunately for me, though, Brian and Drew have a baby brother, so now I get to hear nonstop about when will Ryan get a baby brother, and do I have a baby in my tummy yet. I can't decide if the fact that Carl's sister is currently pregnant makes things better or worse for me as far as Ryan's sudden desire to be a middle child is concerned.


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