Thursday, May 31, 2012

Mother's Day and other random pics

Mother's Day weekend was pretty compartmentalized, but fun. I realize that sounds like a strange description, but it's true--Saturday was daddy and the boys day, and Sunday was mommy and the boys day. As my "gift," I spent Saturday antiquing and having girl time with Kathy while Ed hung out with the boys. Even though it was cool and rainy, we had a delightful day.

Meanwhile, Ed took the boys to a Touch the Trucks exhibit to see all of TJ's favorites.

Later, after a nap for all three of them, he took them to the grocery store to get a card, ice cream, and flowers for me. :) They also came home with a bottle of vino and a balloon, because when they walked into the store and saw the balloons, Thomas told Ed, "Momma yuves (loves) bayoons." I didn't realize I felt that strongly about them, but I loved getting the balloon, flowers, ice cream, card, and vino! (Am I lucky or what?! All that on top of a day of girl time!)
Peach roses and stargazer lilies...the photo doesn't come close to doing them justice!

To top off the day, we went to a delicious Italian restaurant for dinner, all four of us. Yum!

Sunday Ed had to work to get ready for the brewery's grand opening to the public. What was supposed to be a half day stretched til dinner time, so the boys and I went to the playground and just relaxed.

So Saturday was Ed and the boys, Sunday was me and the boys, and then we all met up for dinner each night.

And now just a few more random photos from the past couple weeks:
 Not sure what is going on here. At least the hose wasn't on!

 Saving this in the embarrassing photos folder for when he gets older. Jojo is a breakfast stealer.  Here he is with TJ's bagel under the table. I may have put the headband on him just for fun--usually TJ likes to wear it!
 Right before a wrestling match

 Check out the concentration on TJ's face. I love this!

Jojo is playing left field. He's not quite ready to shag balls yet, but he's a great spectator.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Do the "Jojo"

Remember TJ and then Ed and TJ dancing at Alli and Micah's wedding last year? If not, you can see it here.
And now, you can see this year's version, which I call "Do the 'Jojo.'" It features Jojo (obviously) and Ed.   You can see how much Josiah is loving all the tossing and twirling that's going on! Oh, and clearly I will always have the fewest "moves" in the family.

Monday, May 21, 2012

TJ and Corban

TJ got hold of my camera while we were packing up the hotel room Sunday morning. He found a VERY willing subject in Corban. I cracked up when I checked the camera later and found these. Corban is such a ham, and you can tell how much fun these two boys were having! 

And this is how the luggage cart came into our room:

 At one point, we had 5 kids in the room while we were packing. Talk about chaos! This is how the luggage cart left the room.

Family Wedding

We reunited with the entire Ruble clan at Dana and James' wedding in Ohio recently. We love getting together with everyone, and it's so fun to watch all the kids play together! Lots of pictures here...
 The radiant bride and groom 

The whole Ruble family. I think there was only one person missing.

Our family of four

 The Tom Ruble family...all 15 of us!

 The Millers

 Micah & Alli, a week before their one-year anniversary!

Tom & Alice

 Aidan and Josiah are more interested in each other each time we get together. Here, Jojo was letting Aidan eat his fingers at the reception.

 Grandma entertaining the two babies before dinner

There was a very nice musical performance before dinner. The bigger kids either were content to sit and enjoy it or hang out in the kids' craft room (thank you Aunt Donna!). These two needed a little extra entertainment, so after playing with Grandma, they engaged in a spoon fight. :)

Keira made Jojo a crown in the kids' room. She continues to be a big fan of the two boys.

 Grandma twirling TJ and Lauren

 I got Jojo out on the dance floor!

 There were a lot of kids dancing at the wedding!

Kissin' cousins!

 Jakin and Corban (who are 11 and 8) have reached the age of being "too cool" (or something?) to dance. From their reactions, the idea of dancing mortifies them. I know all boys reach this point, but I remember them both (especially Jakin!) dancing up a storm at our wedding 7 years ago and a few family weddings since then. I miss that! Here, Ed tried to convince Corban to dance. it didn't go well.

 Then TJ tried to convince Corban to dance. Nada.

Corban escaped outside and tried to climb a tree.

The boys with TJ. I love how much these cousins enjoy each other!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Random April/May pics

 So we're still unpacking boxes. Not a lot, but some, especially when we have help/motivation, like when my mom visited while Ed was out of town. She was a whirlwind of activity, and 6 more boxes were emptied. Thomas keeps rediscovering old toys/belongings as boxes get unpacked--things he hasn't seen since we left St. Louis last September. One of the boxes was completely filled with stuffed animals, something that doesn't typically hold his interest. However, when he saw an entire basket of stuffed animals, his reaction was, "Oh, look at all my wonderful toys!" It cracked me up.
We also found his cape, made by Aunt Mary Beth. He thinks he is Super Man while wearing it, and also thinks he has flying power. He was ready to leap off one of the "walls" around the deck in our backyard, but our babysitter convinced him that he needed "flying shoes" to fly, so he decided not to attempt it. Thank goodness!

 Naptime in the closet.

 Mom and I spent two late evenings painting our bedroom. Goodbye, toothpaste green, hello, mocha. And those textured walls are killers to paint!

 Taking a walk with Grammy.

Trying out some of our new deck furniture. Very comfy!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Josiah at 9 months

Guess who is 9 months?
Jojo just had a doctor's appointment, so we've got current stats: 19 lbs. 14 oz. and 27-3/4" long. In contrast, TJ was 20 lbs. at just 6 months. I feel like Jojo has some nice chubb on him, so I must really be forgetting what a chunker Thomas was!

Jojo is still zooming all over the place, both crawling and using the walker. His hair continues to grow (length and thickness!), and it's still red. He has 2 bottom teeth coming in, and like all first baby teeth, they're razor sharp. I really don't want him to become a biter, but I can't help but feel that one or two well-timed chomps out of TJ would make all of the brotherly "love" a lot more gentle! We're getting lots of giggles these days, and more jabbering. When he's hungry he says, "ma ma ma ma ma," and TJ tells me, "he's talking about you, mama!" We're giving him more people food, and we've got another happy carnivore on our hands. And he is consistently sleeping through the night (hooray! though I'm sure just typing this ensures he'll wake up tonight).

A few more pics:

Sunday, May 13, 2012


We've been dealing with house guests, and not the good kind. No jokes about mothers or mothers-in-law here, please, as a) it is Mother's Day when I'm posting this, and b) we love to have both my mom and Ed's mom visit.
Nope, our problem is of the four-legged and fuzzy variety. As TJ calls them, "schwirrels."

It all started a few weeks ago when I heard the pitter patter of little feet over my head while sitting in my office. I will lay it out there--I am a big fat chicken. I know it's more scared of me than I am of it, but I just kept thinking of that scene from National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. Not so much this one, but more when the front door opens and the squirrel launches himself out. I did not want that to happen to me!
And of course, most of the squirrel hunting took place while Ed was at work, so I couldn't even just pass the buck. Fortunately, Kelly, our babysitter is an animal lover and fairly fearless. I peered over her shoulder as she shone a flashlight into the attic crawlspace over my office and confirmed the squirrel's presence.
A quick trip outside, and we saw the squirrel's handy little hole in the siding, with easy access to our roof. He even popped his head out and waved to us.
Squirrel 1, Rubles 0

After watching the squirrel leave "home," we concocted a plan that involved a 32-foot extension ladder and a board. I don't have a picture, as we were a bit busy, but picture two girls about my size trying to carry, raise, and use that big of an extension ladder. Humorous in itself.
Ed told me later that his plan involved a pellet gun, but we don't have one and Kelly didn't want to hurt the squirrel. With the kids watching in fascination, Kelly steadied the ladder while I climbed up it, hammer and pre-nailed board in hand to cover the hole. I thought I was being all smart in starting the nails, making my job easier at the top of a precarious-feeling ladder. The point was later made that screws would be easier to undo than nails, but we'll get to that later. With a few good whacks, I secured the board in place. Ha ha, sucker!
Squirrel 1, Rubles 1

The next morning, I heard the pitter patter of multiple, smaller feet. Apparently it was a mama squirrel and had babies that were trapped inside. ()#$#$(*&! Fearing dying baby squirrels (okay, so while I'm not a squirrel fan, I don't want them to die, and I certainly don't want them to die in the crawlspace--that just becomes another stinky problem).
Another trip up the ladder, wishing I'd used screws. Fortunately, I only had to pry at one corner of the board to remove it. It plummeted to the ground, narrowly missing Kelly. I scurried back down the ladder before mama squirrel or poor dehydrated baby squirrels could shoot out of the hole and seek revenge.
Squirrel family 2, Rubles 1

After an unsuccessful insulation-covered trip through tight crawlspace to try to extract the baby squirrels by hand (bless her!), Kelly brought two Have a Heart traps, baited them with peanut butter, and positioned them in the attic. Thomas, who HATES peanut butter, was grossed out by the use of it and now calls the p.b. "schwirrel peanut butter." Not sure he'll ever eat it now. Three days pass. The squirrels don't touch the peanut butter or the trap. I continue to hear their little feet, day after day. Sometimes the mama squirrel sits on top the roof peak, taunting us.
Squirrel family 3, Rubles 1

After doing some "research" online and heeding Ed's suggestion (who, thanks to long hours at work and a business trip, was a very minor player in this whole saga...), I bought a box of moth balls, which are supposed to keep squirrels away. I scamper up the ladder again, a handful of moth balls in hand. I nervously and quickly pop 8 moth balls, one at a time, into the hole and cross my fingers that it makes the squirrels' cozy home uninhabitable.
Later that night, Ed sees a squirrel dying in our backyard. We convince ourselves that it's the mama squirrel and that she's eaten a moth ball.
Squirrel family 3, Rubles 2

For the next week or two, I hear sporadic squirrel activity overhead. Apparently the moth balls didn't exactly detract. And based on the noises, it sounds like mama squirrel is still around.
Squirrel family 4, Rubles 2

Then, a couple days ago, I realized that I haven't heard little feet for quite a few days. Could it be that they've moved out? Hooray! Who cares what the score is...our attic appears to be empty again!

Now we just need to pull the ladder out again and tack that board back up before the next animal moves in...

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The brewery...not just great beer

After many months of hard work, Bell's opened the doors of its expansion to employees and their families for an open house. I was eager to see it. What's so neat is that it's not all utilitarian--the space is really attractive, as well. The families were free to tour and enjoy a taco bar lunch. I really enjoyed seeing where Ed spends his days, and I know TJ had fun too, especially because his buddy Rowan was there. The two of them created quite a spectacle, playing chase through the brewery and then oh-so-patiently waiting in the lunch line, chanting "taco time! taco time!"
 The brew gallery. See TJ off in the distance?

Checking out daddy's office

Rowan and TJ sitting on a forklift

Later that night, there was a Bell's "Prom" with a Journey cover band at Eccentric Cafe. We got a babysitter (hooray!) and attended. The idea is to dress up for prom--either from your own era or some earlier equally dated one. The theme was "Shipwrecked in Paradise."With only a couple days' notice, I didn't have any luck scoring a fun outfit for myself, but I found Ed the perfectly dated sport coat and tie combo at Goodwill. The music was great, the company was fun, and the icing on the cake was the prom "scene" for picture taking.