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So, the boys went to bed last night at the normal time: 8:15, lights out at 8:30.
I finished up downstairs and headed up around 9:00. As usual, I kissed them each in their rooms before I went into mine.

Kissed Toby, who was mostly out, and he rolled over sleepily.

Kissed Jake, who groggily moaned "NO, no it can't be morning already."

How awesome is it that I got to be the one to tell him he could sleep for NINE more hours.
That is just glorious.
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Jake can start and stop on his two-wheeler bike! Toby made him a certificate (and a tin-foil bike) to mark the occasion:

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VT camping

Sep. 23rd, 2012 06:27 pm
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Outside Simon PearceIMG_8237.jpgIMG_8232.jpgIMG_8223.jpgCristina and her newt!Hug-sleeping
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VT camping, a set on Flickr.

Great autumn-ish camping in Quechee, VT. Other than playing at the campground, activities included

-Quechee Gorge hike
-Billings Farm Museum, trolly ride
-Mt. Tom Hike (across the street)
-Simon Pearce glassblowing visit

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You know how there are stories from your childhood that people won't let you forget? there are a few old chestnuts I get to hear about periodically. Some...fun ("Jess, do you remember singing Christmas carols behind the christmas tree?") Some are more embarrassing.

Like the time I told my Mom if she died then we could get a cat. (As the universe is sometimes fair I developed a cat allergy a few years after). Anyway, I don't remember actually making the comment, but still feel a bit bad about it, though I'm sure everyone had a good laugh at the time.

The modern version of this faux pas?

Jake just told Josh that if he (Josh) dies then Jake would get his iPhone.

Awesome. ha ha ha. Good one.
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The other night, Toby cooked dinner and was feeling (rightly) proud of himself.

We toasted to 'the chef' and he beamed. He then got a bit over-proud and asked if maybe he should take a bow.

So I asked him "do you see me taking a bow every night when I cook dinner?"

He replied...

"No mom," and continued earnestly "but you should."

he is SO SMART that kid. :)
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Jake to Josh: "Daddy, can I come out of time-out?"
Josh: "Hmm...why did Mom put you in time-out?"
Jake: "I don't know!! I don't even know what 'earthsome' means!"

(as in...he was being 'earthsome' to his brother)
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We had a great time up in NH with our visiting cousins for 4th of July week! Campout - s'mores, fishing, great food and SO much swimming!

Morfar built a replica of the 6 foot diving tower he and his brothers ha many years ago, and Uncle Ed and he both dove off it! The rest of us stuck with cannonballs, which was plenty thrilling!

It feels special to have the "5 boys" (cousins) together up there - since for so many years Dad & his four brothers enjoyed that special place.
The new firepit (built by the cousins & Morfar) also had a great inauguration: s'mores and bottlerockets! :)

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Boston Public Garden, a set on Flickr.

Great family & friends outing!

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So, the boys were wonderful for the 8+ hour drive to DC this morning. We checked in at the B&B, and headed right out to the zoo (walking distance!).

At first, our luck was not looking good. Particularly at Jake's height, he sees a lot of backsides in any given day, so is pretty used to it.

Unfortunately, the backsides we saw (in addition to HUGE crowds of people) for the first hour of the visit also looked like this:

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and this:
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and a Panda who wanted to stay in her private little box.

Luckily, things turned around!

Favorites were:
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Can you look at this guy without thinking Alan! Alan! Alan!
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Two other nice animals:
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Dinner at a hole in the wall Mexican place that was just great. Now bed. :)
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We had a great time making Easter egg bread today. The boys ground the cardamom in grammies mortar, measured ingredients, kneaded the dough and shaped the bread. Of course their favorite part was sprinkling (err, sampling) the sugar on top. Well, possibly sampling the rolls over a hot chocolate this afternoon was pretty good too.

When I tucked him in tonight, Jake said "I can't wait until tomorrow!" When I asked why, he said "we can eat the Easter egg bread!" :)

Here's a brief retrospective of Easter egg bread through the years.

And a few from today:
Easter 2012

Easter 2012

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So, both boys are enrolled in Pool School, and have been since January. Jake is approaching his goals of 1) being comforatable putting his face in the water (check!) and 2) being able to swim, face in, and "pop up" for air. After our Florida trip, he could swim for one breath, but couldn't pop up to get a new breath. You can imagine that is a bit problematic.

In any case, he's getting better - and even moved up a level in class:


Toby has also moved up a level, and is making progress on duration and form....and pool school has a knack for keeping the classes fun.

As you may know, though I've been able to swim since childhood, I didn't get comfortable with my face in the water until a few years ago. I took a class and worked hard to get better so as to be a better example for the kids. (oh, and we have a LOT more fun now too!) I am really thrilled that both boys are already at this level of comfort in the water. Not only will it keep them safer near water, but hopefully it will lead to years of good summer fun!
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Well, *almost* great news. We were SO sure that we were going to catch the leprechaun this year!

We followed his trail as quickly as we could!

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We had two traps ready and he triggered them both. In fact, there was a brief, shining minute where we thought he was *in* the trap!!

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Look at Jake's face: he really, really thinks there is a leprechaun under that box!



But he got away somehow, I'm afraid. The kids claim that they saw a green flash as we lifted the box up so maybe he was under there after all?

It's possible that our dog was asleep on the job, or else the leprechaun bribed her in some way because she, our early detection system for trap #1, failed to bark. We're already working on ways we'll try next year, and enjoying the candy the leprechaun left behind.
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An overdue post that Toby has earned his yellow belt in Tae Kwon Do!

I'm told it is a real yellow belt (versus a "junior" one where he'd have to re-test when he's older, should he continue). When he is focused, it is fun to watch! (plus the converse, alas)



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So SO much to update about our wonderful vacation! A week in Venice, FL with family (great Aunts and Uncles, and my parents) followed by two days at Disney (Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios - Star Wars) and one day at Universal's Island of Advendure (Wizarding World of HARRY POTTER!!).

BUT - I'll start with this: Jake tends to provide an ongoing soundtrack to our days - singing lots of songs, both made up and familiar, and it keeps us laughing (and *occasionally* asking for a pause).

Here are the three main songs from this trip (note, that the kids did not know about the Orlando part until after we'd arrived there - hilarious)

Jake cantina by peacefulmayhem

Jake harry potter by peacefulmayhem

Jake star wars by peacefulmayhem

In the airport on the way home, I passed a family with kids our age. The younger was skipping around and singing. LOVE IT! I wanted to give them a big high five. :)
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As you may remember, Toby had pretty lofty goals for the Science and Inventor's fair.

As we tried to come up with a concrete invention idea, we assessed his ideas, weighing them against my ability to build (nonexistent) and the tight timeline. Toby noted things like 'future' or 'later' on most of them, because we needed more time...not because, say, these things are not yet possible in our universe. I love his notes:

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As a result we shifted to conducting an experiment rather than making an invention, and ended up working with flowers and food coloring. Tobias was diligent in his note taking, and I was proud of the care with which he approached creating the poster for the fair. It was really cool to work with him on it.

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The fair was today, and Toby presented his material well!
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This morning, Toby gave Siri the third degree, demanding over and over that she reveal the location where one could purchase a House Elf.

First, she played dumb, "I'm not sure what you are asking." Then, she dodged, "That information is clasified." When that failed, she referred him to Google, which was no help.

In the end, Toby can be *quite* convincing....I think Siri knew there would be no peace until she shared her secrets. So she gave up and produced the map. Who would have guessed that Elf Electronics was just a front for an elf trafficking operation?

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(yes, Josh & I couldn't help ourselves - we did delve into the ethics of owning an Elf...though I would certainly welcome the help!)
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Claudine, Jake's tooth fairy, has been very busy lately - she's been here THREE times this week!
In this voicemail, Jake describes the way to properly deal with a wiggly tooth.

Jake's voicemail



{shudder}
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