Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Day Trip

Last Saturday was great. Earlier in the week Scott suggested taking a drive up to Natural Tunnel State Park, somewhere he'd gone while he was growing up (as it is close to Kingsport, the Cruze homeland). Never had an idea sounded more wonderful. We soon expanded our plans to include a quick tour of his old stomping grounds on our way home and got the Fake Cruzes in on the deal.It was a perfect day. Nice and sunny (not too hot in the shade), everyone was happy. We started out with a picnic lunch and playing on the playground. Then we went over to a trail so we could hike down to the tunnel. The trail was a bit steep and not at all stroller-friendly, so the moms lucked out and took the little girls down on the chair lift. We passed right over our rugged hikers (see our shadow?).
The tunnel itself was much bigger and much blacker than I imagined it. We thought we would be able to walk in it, but were disappointed (or in Josh's case: relieved) that we could not. Looking in:Looking up: Looking goooood:
Looking similar: Looking:
Apparently they get tired of questions about the train...So we really lucked out to see one.A little power-struggle involving hugging rights to the lamp post.We spoiled four rode back up the chair lift while the rest sweat their way up below us.
Next we hopped down to Kingsport and went on a Cruze childhood tour, hitting all four houses (which I'm really mad I didn't take any photos of). For Scott and Conan it was sweet nostalgia, disbelief at how big the trees all were, how small other things seemed, what had changed and what remained the same. For me it was completing the mental pictures I've had from all the stories (now I know where the pig farm was). We also made rounds to the mall, the church, the elementary school and best of all the high school. Here we got out and spent a long time running around the track and on the field and all over the bleachers.
Good day.

Monday, June 29, 2009

I'm so proud...well, mostly...

Out of all of the possible Cruze-kid combinations, Josh and Lydia generate the most conflict by far. Of course, all of the kids bicker from time to time with one another, but none quite so explosively as those two. It's gotten better since summer began (having Emma and Ben around to entertain/distract them has been invaluable). But there were spans of days on end when I would dread the non-stop fighting and screeching that seemed intrinsic in their interactions. Neither one was willing to give the other an inch, they were prepared to fight to the death over whatever object caught their fancy. Like I said: getting better. But still strongly colors my perception of their relationship.
So that's the background information, the context for today's event.
We were at swim practice this morning for Emma and Ben. There are lots of other little kids who come with their older siblings as well, so they all play together. This day a few kids had brought their plastic light sabers. There were three or four not in use, so Lydia and Josh each asked for and obtained permission from the mom of those sabers to play with them. All of the kids generally play in a big grassy field behind the patio area where the moms sit. I turned around to investigate when I heard Josh hollering in a near panic, "No! NO! Give that back!! You can't just grab it!" you can imagine what I expected to find: Josh and Lydia locked in a tug-of-war over the light sabers or something like that. Instead I felt a quick rush of maternal pride that nearly choked me. Another kid (a little older than Lydia) was trying to take Lydia's light saber away from her and Josh was heroically stepping in. He gruffly yanked it away from the perpetrator and turned to Lydia and lovingly handed it to her with a sweet, "Here you go, Lydia." "Thanks, Josh."
I realize Josh did not exactly handle the situation perfectly. He was not so kind to the saber-grabber as he could have been. But the kid was not upset about it, and I was so proud of seeing him play the part of protector and sticking up for his little sister who drives him crazy most of the time I decided a lecture on manners could wait.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The finest frozen snack...

When it's close to dinnertime the kids often start begging for a snack because they are "dying-hungry" (Josh) and can't bear waiting thirty more minutes for food. They are always welcome to have as many frozen peas as they would like.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Swim Team

Ah, summer. Emma was on the swim team for the first time last year, and this year Ben gave it a go too. I can't say enough about how much he's improved because of it. Before the season started he was hard pressed to make it all the way across the pool with out stopping to hold on to something. After just the first week of getting in the water so frequently and getting some good instruction it's a breeze now. His first attempt at backstroke was hopeless...his body vertical as his arms flailed two or three times before grabbing the wall. But after just two days of working at it he knows what he's doing. He's doing it correctly. He reported, "Backstroke is my favorite, I was going so fast..." They were both so excited for the first meet, Emma was positively bubbling as she showed Ben where to put his towel and explained about the snacks and playing with all the other kids on the team and cheering and most importantly writing all over yourself with a sharpie. It's been fun to have two kids swimming this year. Neither one is a superstar at it. No blue ribbons so far, and perhaps there won't be at all by the end, but that doesn't diminish their love of the sport. And their individual improvement is what has me sold on this every summer for as long as they're game.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Like a cat and a can opener...

This is Lydia's favorite song. Fav-or-ite. No matter where she is or what she is doing, if she can hear the ipod she will come running to the kitchen as soon as this song starts. Then she rocks out. Her rocking out is comprised mostly of running around in circles, spiced up now and then with some booty-shaking and head-bopping. I wanted to document the phenomenon because it cracks me up every time she does it.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Lydia Sleeps

The other night before heading to bed, I checked in on the sleeping little ones and found Lydia like this on her bottom bunk: Did she fall asleep that way or toss and turn her way down there after drifting off? (Her pillow is at the opposite end of the bed.)
I don't remember where we had just come home from in this photo: But Lydia had fallen asleep in the car and we put her on the couch for a few minutes while getting the other kids settled in bed before getting her changed and in her own bed. I just love the look of a peaceful, deep sleep on a kid's face. It makes me wish I was right in the middle of a sleep like that.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Josh loves Afton

Okay, so that last Josh post featured less than cute shots of him. More in the only-a-mother-could-love category. (What? You didn't find the close-up of a minor injury and nilla-wafer-becrumbed mouth endearing?) So to make up for it, here he is doing one of his favorite (and cutest) things...snuggling Afton. Double whammy.

Monday, June 8, 2009

That's our Joshee

The Father/Son Campout was last month. It was great! Everything the boys hoped for. A campfire, marshmallows, sleeping in a tent, stitches...

Josh is the first kid in our family ever to get stitches. Someone made the comment they couldn't believe he'd made it five years without them. (I hadn't considered that before but it's true.) He was walking past a picnic table to get another marshmallow when he stumbled and his leg caught a metal part of the bench where the wood was missing. Scott said when it happened he screamed like he was on fire. By the time they got to the ER he was calmed down though and had a great time. He was all smiles and hamming it up for the nurses and doctor. They put on the "magic jelly" so he wouldn't feel the stitches and he even watched them do the last two (he had five all together). He gasped each time the needle went in.

Lydia was a little creeped out. Here she is hiding from the stitches (in the under-bassinet storage) when I took off his band-aid to take a picture of them.


A few days later I noticed one of Josh's teeth was not like the others: We have no idea when he lost that small chip. I need to research some recent photos and see if we can pin down the time line.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Recycled Tee

I now have a whole pile of old t-shirts waiting to be transformed like this one. Quick, easy, cute. It's one of Lydia's favorites and I don't mind if she gets it dirty. Thanks for the idea and tutorial, Cally.