Sunday, July 30, 2006

The kid sister comes home...

The game plan was to go swimming Friday at Terri's when Becky and Troy came down from that state up north. But, considering that it was maybe 70 degrees, only the brave hearted ventured into the pool...and no, I wasn't one of them. However, today was a different story. It was just 95 degrees hot. So, after attending the Chapel with us this morning, the pool party started up again around 2:00 or so, and we all enjoyed a great afternoon at the Chinrocks.

Now call me crazy, but I think Becky looks pretty motherish holding Ms. Sarah. I tried to convince her this weekend how babies never cry, are usually potty trained by around 6 months, and sleep 10-12 hours each night... Dan and I are looking forward to next summer since Becky enthusiastically agreed to take all the children (Cody, Adam, Marie, Josh, and Sarah) for a week....we're gonna hold you to it, Becky! Really, it'll be a lot of fun! It will be good practice for you when you and Troy have your twins in a couple of years!

Thanks again for coming down.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Dear Santa, this is all I want for Christmas...

Cindy's brother hadn't seen Sarah yet, so since he was coming home for the weekend, we decided to pack the kids up on Saturday, and head south to spend the day with Cindy's folks down in Marietta. Fred, my father-in-law, had just bought a new toy, and needless to say, we all had a blast riding it. Quite simply, this thing has testosterone written all over it...and I think that I'm really in need one. (I'll have to come up with a more convincing argument for fact, I'll offer a cash prize, to be determined later, for anyone who can come up with a sound, persuasive argument as to why I should be able to get one. Family outings and running the kids to practices/ lessons probably won't cut it. (Although there is a cargo area in the rear that would be perfect for groceries and dry cleaning!)

Seriously, though, this was awesome to ride. We took Josh around in the yard, and then after a brief tutorial on how to maneuver it, I ventured out into the woods. (Cindy's folks have about 100 wooded acres down there) Now I won't admit to getting lost, but the trees did become somewhat indistinguishable after a while, and I kind of forgot how to put the thing in reverse. I didn't panic, though. I thought all I would need to do is to reach into my pocket, grab my cell phone, and call for some assistance...the only problem is that the only thing I had in my pocket was Sarah's good. Anyway, after what seemed like 7 days, I made it back to the homestead. (Nobody seemed overly concerned, I might add!) Anyway, after that, (now that I had a firm grasp on the surroundings) I took Marie out on a similar trek. She loved it...and screamed the whole way.

Tubing on the Ohio...

Later in the day, we all headed out towards the Ohio River to do some tubing. In Josh's words, it was "good fun". He didn't hesitate in the least to jump into the river and climb aboard the tube...and away we went. Now I on the other hand felt a bit sore later in the day; at the time, it felt like my arms were going to tear out of their sockets...not to mention I kept looking back because it felt as if my swim trunks were going to get sucked into the wake of the boat- Now that would have been a story to tell! We had to cut the boat trip a bit short because the clouds rolled in, and it looked like we were going to get some rough weather. All in all, we were out for about 1 1/2 hours.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Hey Robby!

Now I don't recall introducing myself to my neighbor as Robby, but this is the greeting, along with a real friendly smile, I recieve each time I see him outside. More than once, my next door neighbor has told me how much he loves living here in Barberton. Now I too am pretty content here as well, but I don't exude the same amount of enthusiasm for my home as my neighbor, Dra'gon. He's constantly outside either doing some odd jobs or working in his garden, which is about 5 times the size of mine! About a week ago, while getting ready to cut the grass, we struck up a conversation. (which we don't often do primarily because of the language barrier) After a friendly exchange of the "how are ya" type of talk, Dra'gon told me his story...

About 9 years ago, he and his wife had a beautiful home in Croatia right off the coast of the Adriatic Sea- a home which he had built himself and had intended to raise his children in one day. One evening, though, a militia group came and ordered him to enlist or face imprisonment. (a civil war was developing in the country) Well, Dra'gon, his wife, and extended family all escaped that very night...leaving their homes and all possessions behind. They were able to secure passage here to America and eventually ended up buying the home next to mine.

Dra'gon's four year-old son, Goren, has become Josh's best buddy. They play together almost daily, and it is really uncanny how well they get along. I've kidded Cindy a few times that it is because they can't converse with each other extremely well, so they haven't learned the fine art of arguing yet. His daughter, Kristina (age 7) , is simply a doll.

Anyway, not only are they great neighbors, but the whole family has made me realize just how fortunate I have been in life. I cannot fathom what it would have been like to endure trauma like what they went through, not to mention trying to assimilate yourself into a foreign culture/ learn a new language at age 40 would be most challenging. Here's a guy, though, with an incredible amount of fortitude- and a sincere love for his home in good ole' Barberton.

Monday, July 17, 2006

And For Today's Performance...
the lateral baby-flip

Now all you do is swing your legs high in the air and kind of thrust them to one side...

Then, simultaneously, use your left shoulder/ forearm and swing it to the same you want to hit someone...

Then, with one final push...oh crud- I'm stuck. Hey, a little help over here. Yo Dad, put the camera down and get over here...Hello??? I want my mother!

Friday, July 14, 2006

Wings of Hope

Here's a new CD title housing a collection of lullabys and preschool songs. Not overly eye-catching until you read the headline to the article- Prison Inmates Croon for Kids.

This article in the Beacon Journal states that "A new state-sponsored children's album recorded by prison inmates features songs and poems by murderers, robbers and kidnappers -- and even musical consultation by a child rapist. The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction has touted last month's release of Wings of Hope as a family-themed compact disc that includes parenting tips, songs such as Old McDonald and This Old Man, and music composed by prisoners. The Ohio Resource Network and prison system had planned to hand out the discs to families of inmates, prison-related groups, children social services, public libraries and other community organizations. But now they will be limited to those with prison affiliations. (due to the participation of the child rapist)

Now in an effort to not come across as "holier than thou"...I can't for the life of me begin to understand the idea behind this. I'm all in favor in attempting to rehabilitate these poor souls so that one day they may be able to do something productive with their lives, but I tend to agree with the one person who already commented on this story ( that listening to the sample MP3 of some robber singing a lullaby song intended for a small sleeping child is just creepy! Having said that, I've got to believe that this may have been a very sobering experience for the participatory inmates who have children at home. Any thoughts out there?

Monday, July 10, 2006

A Memorable Mohican Family Vacation

Well...where to begin. Let's start by saying that we all had been looking forward to this vacation for quite a while. We thought that this would be the ideal place that we could entertain a 12 year old, 5 year old, and a 4 month old...and it would have been perfect- had the rains not come.

Within an hour of the storms, this was the view from our front porch of our cabin. (Thank God, we had rented one that was on high ground!) Just past the cabins that you see here is a lake that crested over its banks. Evidently, within a mile on the other side of the lake was a rather large dam. Hearing this, Cindy and I packed up everything VERY quickly and headed back to good ole' Barberton. We were not going to take any chances with the kids! (the rains started up again shortly after I took this pic)

We did have a nice 24 hours there, however. Our cabin was awesome- complete with a hot-tub that we used last night- and Josh, Marie, and I went on a 2 hour canoe trip this morning. However, by mid-day, the storms came and by 5:00 P.M.- we were packing up! Josh was pretty bummed because we had already bought tickets for the go-carts- but considering that they were under water, I didn't think that we would be using them anytime soon.

Sarah took her first swim of her young life- and loved it! (the park had a very nice indoor swimming pool) Had we stayed a bit longer, she might have really been able to test out her aquatic skills! It's not funny though because having experienced this somewhat small tragedy really makes you feel for the poor souls down South whose homes/ lives were devastated by the hurricanes. Cindy and I were truly worried about the safety of our kids, so I can only imagine what had gone through the minds of the countless number of parents who had to see to the safety of their children in New Orleans and parts of Mississippi.

I'm glad I'm home tonight! No more camping for a while!!!

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Karate Do

Josh's Sensie remembered to bring him a gi today. A number of weeks ago, Josh tested for his orange belt- and passed!- and with that, comes the cool karate outfit. He was so proud to wear it during class. He seems to still really enjoy the sport, and I truly hope that he continues his enthusiasm. He really does seem to have a knack for it, and certainly brings a high amount of energy to each class. He has even learned a little bit of Japanese along the way...Hai (yes), Kiai (a special Karate shout) and Karate Do (the way of Karate). Incidentally, karate means "the way of the hands". Josh is pictured here in the Yoi position- complete attention to his teacher and absolute concentration- can't you just see it in his eyes?

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Holiday Swim

I personally didn't think it was warm enough for the pool, but obviously, the kids were a bit braver than me! Sarah, however, sat back and simply enjoyed the show.

The Drive-in

I think that it had been about 7 years since I last went to a drive-in. Marie reminded me that we had gone to see Tarzan a number of years ago- when she was around Josh's age, I believe.

Anyway, we headed off to the Wadsworth drive-in last Friday night and had a blast. After convincing Josh that it was ok to wear his PJ's to the movies, he thought it was so cool to be able to watch the films from the back of our van- complete with sleeping bags, pillows, games, food, and pop. (I knew this van would come in handy one day!) I was also pretty amazed that he stayed awake for both films- the 2nd one didn't even start until 11:00. We saw Garfield 2 (which they should have stopped after the first one- it was a pretty lame movie) and Over the Hedge (very cute). The only problem we ran into was that I didn't know how to turn off the interior lights of the van while having the hatch open- I eventually figured it out, but I think the folks next to us were a bit annoyed with us. Oh, well...

The kids definitely want to go back- the plan is to go see Johnny Depp's reprisal role of Captain Jack Sparrow in the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie. Hey, did I mention that this is also an incredible bargain- $15.00 per car! You spend that much on a soda and a box of popcorn at the theaters!