Thursday, February 23, 2012

You Are My Sunshine

When I was born, my dad bought me a stuffed elephant that played the song "You Are My Sunshine." Ever since both of the boys were born, I've been singing them that song. I shouldn't be surprised that Thomas has picked up the words--that kid mimics EVERYTHING he hears, and his song repertoire is quite impressive.
What's not quite as impressive is his pitch. Either he has inherited my tone deaf-ness, or hearing my singing it out of key for the last three years has given him a bad example to mimic. He often asks me to sing "the sunshine song," and recently he has been singing it to Josiah. Very sweet!

I also want to point out that Jojo was fussy before TJ started singing--so he's not reacting to the serenading!                                      

3 years old!

Happy Birthday Thomas!
It's hard to believe that our sweet TJ is 3 years old today! It's cliche to say, but it has been a fast 3 years! We started out the day with donuts for breakfast--yum! Assuming all goes smoothly, we'll celebrate as a family tomorrow night at our new house with pizza and ice cream.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Relaxing weekend & more

Our first winter in Michigan hasn't been very snowy, so when we have had snow, we've tried to take advantage of it. A week ago Friday, we got snow. (hooray!)
 So Saturday morning, I took TJ out to use his cross country skis. I love that he loves to do this. Hopefully next winter we can ski as a family.

 A picture of where we're living. It's a pretty good set-up--a corner unit, so some additional windows, green space around us, and a decent amount of space inside, including a basement. Of course, the closer we get to our move date for the new house, the smaller this place seems. Many of our sentences these days start with: "When we get to the new house..."

 Sunday, TJ and I went sledding. There's a golf course right behind our complex and a neighbor mentioned that kids sledded on it in the winter. I figured it would be crowded and wild, but at 11:30 on a Sunday, no one was there except us! We both had a blast.

 Thomas would pull the sled partway up the hill and then he looked for a ride. It was a pretty steep hill!

 Playing outside in the snow is exhausting!

 On Saturday, Kathy came to visit. We needed to check on some repairs at the new house, so she met us there to look at paint colors with me. It's helpful to have a friend who is an interior designer! The roads weren't great, so she decided to spend the night. We went to Gallo Blanco for dinner, played with the kids, and planned out the colors for the house.

 Thomas likes to show everyone who visits how to play with Alphie.

 He also loves helping to give Josiah a bath. This leads to a lot of splashing (by both of them), and this photo shows the last bath not in the tub. Much easier to contain the splashing there.

 Josiah's new thing is to stand up. All.the.time. He's wobbly and still needs support, but any time you try to sit him down, his legs go stubbornly straight so that he can stand again (kind of the opposite of rubber legs, an affliction most little kids experience).

TJ's favorite new spot--in the pack and play, under the "mattress." He spent about 20 minutes in here one day, in complete quiet. He's never quiet for 20 minutes at a time. I like this new hiding spot!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Saying goodbye to St. Louis

Super Bowl weekend we drove to St. Louis to get some things organized in the house and say goodbye to our friends. Today seems like a particularly apt day to post pictures about our trip, because today the movers are at our house, packing up all of our things. (And a special thanks to Karen Hamlin, who is spending the day at our house, supervising!)
We packed every minute of our trip with stuff--much of it organizing, rearranging and figuring out logistics, but the highlight was definitely getting together with friends on Saturday night! In August of 2007, about a month after we moved into this house, we invited friends over to celebrate Ed's birthday. There were probably 10-12 adults and 1 kid--Cooper--who was 10 months old. Fast forward 4.5 years, and the get-together included many of the same people, and NINE kids. I guess we've all been busy. Needless to say, the gathering was a little more kid-focused and a lot louder!

 Ethan and Thomas chased each other around, wearing dress-up hats. This is the first time these two have played together on a pretty level playing field--both toddlers, running around and talking and sharing toys (sort of).

 We've had a friend staying in our house while we were in Michigan. He brought over a play kitchen--the Cadillac of play kitchens, I might add--for his 3-year old daughter. No question this was the hit of the night. At one point I think there were about 6 kids in and around it. 

 The 3 newest babies of the group: Josiah (6 months), Jake (2 months) and Owen (3 weeks). In this group of 9 kids, only 2 were girls!

 Ethan became a big brother before Thomas. Here he shows off his skills, giving Josiah a kiss on the head.

 Jacob (Ethan's little brother) practices standing with Mark, while Jojo looks on with envy.

 Karen and Jojo. Josiah was passed from person to person all night long. It was great!

 Molly wants Jojo to wear the cowboy hat.

 TJ shows Melanie how gentle he can be with baby Owen. Sidenote: check out Owen's full head of hair! He makes Thomas, who had a lot of hair as a baby, look bald!

 We had a cake to celebrate TJ's birthday since this is the group we'd normally celebrate with. Note the construction theme. Expect to see it on the blog once or twice more over the coming weeks.

 You know it's a fun party when the biggest kid there--Cooper, who is 5--falls asleep on his mom's lap before the night ends.

 At the end of the night, as kids were leaving, Thomas was still going strong. Did we mention he's a night owl?! He got Corey to play in the kitchen with him.

 Katie, holding Jake, showing that taking care of a baby is so easy that she can do it while double-fisting--wine AND beer.
Our family of four in front of the house for the last time. Leaving is definitely bittersweet. Both of our boys were born here. We had 4+ years of good times here, and several friends had moved from New Jersey to St. Louis around the same time as us, so we'd been together with the same group for almost 8 years.
We loved the character of our 100-year-old house and put some work into it. We had great neighbors and lived in a great neighborhood, with fun ethnic restaurants just a few blocks away.  
We'll miss all of our good friends, and it's strange to think that Thomas will barely remember this house or his little St. Louis friends, and Josiah won't remember either at all. 
That just means we'll have to come visit often! And St. Louis friends, our door is always open and we'll have plenty of room in the new house. Please come visit!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Look Who Is 6 Months!

Josiah just turned 6 months old...hard to believe! He is trying so hard to be on the move but hasn't quite figured out how yet. Whenever we sit him down he flops sideways or forwards to get on his belly and then gets stuck. I'm thinking some form of scooting is right around the corner, as soon as he can get his body and brain on the same page. He loves watching Thomas and grins at pretty much whatever TJ does (even when it involves sitting on Jojo, smacking him, or some other form of brotherly abuse). It's so fun watching the two of them interact. His hair continues to grow and continues to be reddish. He looks like a soft, downy orangutan, but it doesn't show up well in pictures. Here are some pictures of our happy, adorable little Jojo, and below, some professional shots as well.
 6 months!
 Look at that happy boy!
 Bigger than my bear
 That grin is priceless.
And this is the new Jojo grin--the close-mouthed smile.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

 Wishing you a happy day!

 Jojo desperately wanted to eat his cookie, and even got it up to his mouth.

 He got sweet potatoes and rice cereal instead.

But he didn't seem to mind!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Ruble Reunion

We spent the last weekend in January at the annual Ruble family reunion in Columbus. This year there were 30+ people at the Embassy Suites, spending a weekend catching up, eating, and playing Bohemian hockey. We've only been once since we've had kids, so it was a little different to have to keep an eye on the boys rather than just worrying about ourselves (then again, isn't that life in general these days?!). But, we had plenty of help--no shortage of volunteers to hold Jojo, and girl cousins to run TJ ragged through the hotel. Fun times! Oh, and did I mention that Ed won the family tournament? Yes!
 Aunt Alli gets smiles from Josiah. This kid went from person to person all weekend and didn't bat an eyelash. It was great. 

 I caught Thomas helping himself to some cake. 
And then asked him to do it again so I could take a picture. :)

Ed's cousin Dana is getting married in May. Since so many of the women in the family were there, an impromptu shower was held. It started with a scavenger hunt (complete with rhyming clues!) all through the Embassy Suites. At each clue's destination, we were met by Rich and Patrick, aka the cabana boys, aka a cousin and cousin's husband, with shots for doing after Irish toasts. Your choice of Mudslides or Pina Colada. The scavenger hunt ended at the presents--not a bad treasure! 
 Dana, the bride, and her mom, Aunt Donna. Plus cake.

 Ed playing his cousin Mike in the Bohemian hockey final game. For the uninitiated, Bohemian Hockey is comprised of round rubber floor protectors (like what you put under furniture) being tossed at the wooden boards you see in the picture. Rules similar to cornhole. I always get bounced in the first round. This year, somehow, I got a bye to the second round and promptly got bounced there. 

Ed accepts the trophy from his dad Tom, last year's winner. Now Tom, Jack (brother-in-law) and Ed have all won. That's all the Tom Ruble men except Micah. Micah--the challenge is on!

TJ takes his turn at Bohemian hockey. He preferred to stand about 2 feet away and whip the pucks in. Dangerous but effective! 
 Did I mention there is a lot of food at these reunions? Everyone brings something. It's crock pot heaven. Although in the last couple years, the salad bar (above) has appeared. I didn't even get a photo of the meat table, or the snack table. We may be there for 2 days, but no one goes hungry. 

 Grandma and Jojo

TJ and his ladies. Ed's cousins kids (Keira, Adrianna, and Kylie) are all a bit older than TJ. Happily for us, they loved playing with him and played/watched him all weekend. I think I went several hours at a time without seeing him. They ran laps around the various floors of the Embassy Suites (great set-up!) and investigated all the empty conference rooms. Girls, you were awesome and TJ had a blast!
 How convenient that there was a Skyline Chili on the way out of town. Thomas is inhaling the massive amounts of shredded cheese on his coney dog. A big improvement from our last Skyline visit when he refused to eat. We were about to disown him, but now we'll keep him. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Silliness and Wiggles/Giggles

A quick video of each boy!

Yep, that's our kid.
TJ got Alphie for Christmas. They are best buds--TJ plays with him all the time, and he's gotten really good at the games/lessons Alphie offers. Alphie has all kinds of super-clever encouraging phrases ("That's Alph-tastic," "Destination Coordinates: Head of the Class," "Genius," etc.). They do wonders for a kid's self esteem, and it never gets annoying...
Anyway, Thomas has taken to repeating Alphie's phrases in random situations. In the video above, he is saying, "I'm a learning machine," which appears to completely contradict his actions.

This second video is much sweeter.
Check out Jojo's wiggles and giggles. He is a perpetual ball of motion--his arms and legs are constantly going like that. And the giggles...we can't get enough!