Friday, January 27, 2012

Mom and Dad come to Kalamazoo

Mom and Dad came to visit us in Kalamazoo this past weekend. The snow delayed the start of their trip but it sure was nice for sledding and skiing a bit on Saturday and Sunday! They also got to see the brewery, visit Eccentric Cafe, babysit while went out on a date night (!) and house hunting, and take the boys to Air Zoo, a very cool museum/activity center.

 The boys fly a helicopter

 Plane ride! Dad's legs didn't fit real well.

 Riding a rocket ship

 Baby overalls...I love it!

 The boys standing on Buppa


 Skiing in our backyard

 Sledding--not much of a hill, so TJ got a ride around the yard from Buppa instead.

 A much-needed haircut!

 I just loved his expression here.

Deflating the blow-up bed. Mom and Dad got to sleep in TJ's room on this mattress and Jojo slept in with us.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Weekend in Williamstown

Thanks to a great Southwest airlines deal, we spend a long weekend in Massachusetts at Jack and Mary Beth's house. They've been building it for the past two or so years and we hadn't seen it yet, and it's always great for the boys to have some extra cousin time and us to have some extra grown-up time! A snowstorm shortened our trip by one day, but we were thrilled there was snow in Williamstown when we arrived--it meant we could ski and sled! 

 All 7 of the kids. What's amazing is that they're all pretty much looking at the camera!

 Their house--beautiful inside and out! 

 Look at those big blue eyes! Aidan is crawling all over the place--a sneak peek at what we'll be getting from Jojo in the next couple of months. 

 Thomas fell asleep early the night that Lauren took a bath, so he and Josiah took a bath together instead. They both seemed to really like it, so we'll have to start doing it. MB has this great little mesh "chair" which supported Jojo.

 Baby interaction above and below

 On Saturday we went to the nearby ski hill. The three older kids ski each week and compete in cross country races. Here's Jakin coming down the home stretch. All three did really well in their age groups. Fun to watch!

 Lauren and Thomas both tried skiing for the first time. I think we have two future skiers on our hands!

 The kids played dress up--here, they're pirates, but at one point (sadly, no picture), Annie was "Princess Anne" and TJ was "Prince Thomas." That does help explain why last week TJ came down the steps wearing a towel like a skirt and saying "I'm a princess." Not sure he caught the slight difference between the words!

 There was also A LOT of rough housing/rumpusing. Right up Thomas' alley. The bigger boys were great with him, and tolerated him covering the floor of their room with all of their train stuff. 

 We went sledding in the backyard on Saturday and on Monday. There's a great little hill that was perfect for kids of all ages. I joined in the sledding on Monday. It was awesome! I haven't gone sledding in quite a while.

 The little kids sledding

 TJ with a shovel/sled. This was his first time really sledding and he LOVED it. Couldn't get enough. So happy we live where there's snow now so that we can do this all winter. (In fact, I bought a sled today!)

 Thomas and Lauren liked getting rides back up the hill. The whole experience was such a novelty to him that even if he didn't go down the hill on the sled, he'd just run down the hill to be with everyone at  the bottom (and likely to get a ride up!).

 Jakin and Corban wrestled their way down the hill.

 I became the sled (on top of a very skinny plastic sled) for the two little kids. They thought this was fantastic. I did too, to be honest!

This might be my favorite picture of the whole weekend. Every chance Lauren got, she'd ask, "Can I hold Jo SI ah?" 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Like mother, like...son?

This photo goes in the "show to TJ's future girlfriends" file. After I finished pumping on Friday, I took the milk down to the refrigerator. When I came back up to the room, this is what I found. 
For those unfamiliar with pumps, this is a picture of Thomas trying to connect the pump tube to his nipple. He had the machine turned on and everything. Just missing a few key parts, both mechanical and anatomical. I guess he's seen me do this a few times and it just seemed like a good idea to try!

Josiah at 5 months

Jojo is 5 months old--when did that happen?! We went to the doctor last week and he's now 16 lb. 2 oz.  and his height hasn't changed. He's rolling over, starting to sit up (with pillow padding!), and eating rice cereal. He is a smiley little kid, and he loves his big brother, which is cute to see.

Third time's the charm: We tried rice cereal again this weekend and he likes it! Of course he wants to help with the spoon, but he happily gobbles up whatever goes into his mouth.

 Look at that big boy sitting. He's still wobbly but is getting sturdier every day.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Random pics

Some random early January pics...
 Daddy and Josiah hanging out

 Saturday morning treats! I took the boys for donuts (no ulterior motive there) while Ed went in to work last weekend. Thomas methodically strips the donut of frosting and filling before eating the actual donut.
 That's a happy boy!

 In a box in his box fort. The only problem is that it's a box sitting on top of two layers of empty boxes. How much can cardboard and air hold?

Posting this picture to show Jojo's hair. It has been "sprouting" lately and is now probably 1/2" long. 
So cute!

 Look what TJ has learned to do--something that makes every parent proud. I blame a certain blinking cup he used over the holidays. When he does it, he says, "I see two mamas! I see two daddies!"

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Day After...

We spent a night at the Cook house on our journey home from NC. Ed reads all three kids a story. I think they held still for about half of it.

You know you're getting old when you're napping the day AFTER New Year's Day, and it has nothing to do with how late you stayed up on NYE.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Ripstick

You may have noticed that there are rarely pictures of me doing unflattering things on this blog. It may be because it's more fun to just feature the boys, who are cuter, or because I don't do unflattering things, or perhaps because I'm the one doing the decide. :) 
This experience below was just too good to not share, so here I am!

Jakin and Corban are both really into ripsticking (I'm assuming that's a verb...showing my age and lack of coolness here.) It's the new skateboard--but with only one wheel front and back, it's a lot more tippy. I never really skateboarded, but I can wakeboard and snowboard, so I decided that I'd try out their ripsticks while we were in NC. If only there was a video...

I had a really hard time keeping my balance. And gaining momentum. And doing those two things simultaneously. Waving my arms around like crazy felt like it helped, but I'm not sure it did. I still fell off pretty much every 2 feet or so.

A little bit of balance... 
Anyone who knows me well knows that I stick my tongue out to help balance myself. Water skiing, wakeboarding, sometimes even just walking while carrying heavy bags. I couldn't even do that here because I was afraid I'd bit it off when I bit the dust! Maybe that's why I couldn't balance?
Toward the end of my attempts, I realized that I was doing it backwards to how I wakeboard. I switched front feet, hoping for instant improvement. There wasn't much. I think my best ride was about 6 feet long with a slight turn at the end. I may have to try again in Massachusetts this weekend when we visit the Millers. I'm determined to master this! And then maybe I'll ask for one for my birthday next year. I could be the cool mom who ripsticks! :) Or not.

 It's only a still photo, but look how smoothly Jakin and Corban ride. They look so comfortable, and they can do it for hours. I want to be like them!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Ruble Christmas 2011

We spent 4 days in North Carolina at Ed's parents' house around the New Year's holiday. We flew in from Michigan, Mary, Jack and the kids drove from Massachusetts, and Alli and Micah drove from Kentucky. It's quite the gathering--a packed house, lots of food, even more noise, and so much fun! 
Some stats from the visit:
*8 adults
*7 kids (thank goodness we still outnumber them!)
*1 dog
* 7 gallons of milk, 4 dozen eggs, 5 loaves of bread, 8 dozen Christmas cookies (okay, these number may be exaggerated, but not by much!)
 Tom and Alice and their 7 grandkids.

 Aidan trying to get into one of his presents--he's 7 months old and kept trying to pull himself up. Look at those big blue eyes. Such a cutie!

 Alli and Josiah

 The babies outside. We had a few days in the 60s, which was great for playing outside.

Playtime! Jojo really tries to sit, but he's nowhere near as sturdy as Aidan yet. Overalls make it easy to keep him upright!

 Grandma and Grandpa with the boys

 The tree and stocking set-up from Christmas morning, before the kids were allowed to come up from the basement. Peaceful, isn't it? That didn't last long.

Making dumplings for paprikash, our traditional Christmas eve dinner. Usually I'm the third, but Micah started in my place while I was busy doing something--feeding the baby, I think.

Grandpa took the big boys out fishing. They caught a tree branch, but sadly, no fish. Great day to be on the lake, though!

Both Annie and Lauren loved to hold the babies. Lauren was constantly asking to hold Jojo, which was great. She's much more gentle than Thomas--no need to worry about random whacks to the head or eye poking.

Just too cute not to post!

 Ed is a jungle gym. The kids loved it!

I think this is a great picture. Jakin is 10 now. That was a fast 10 years, and I'm speaking as an aunt! I bet MB feels it was even faster.

Annie got a sewing kit that makes a stuffed teddy for her and for her American Girl doll. She and Alice worked on it together and had just about finished the smaller bear before we left. As you can imagine, I'm always happy to have another sewer in the family!

The start of the stocking hand-out. Still relatively calm. Not sure we have a picture of all the discarded wrapping paper/new toy chaos!

 Everyone got a kick out of Jojo's swaddle. Sure, he looks constricted and funny, but it puts him to sleep and keeps him sleeping pretty well because his arms can't flail.

Grandpa and the big little kids

A time-honored tradition...Tom reads "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" to all the kids. The couch is getting crowded!

That was alot of pictures, but it feels like there was so much we did that didn't get photographed--a bonfire, tons of legos, more running around outside, lots of family meals...etc. There also aren't a ton of pictures of the bigger kids, including Thomas--in large part because they were never holding still, whereas the babies were. But photographed or not, we all had a great time!