Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Our Berry Nice Day

We started the day bright and early picking black raspberries. We went full throttle, non stop all day long until we all collapsed from exhaustion. Having out of town company allows you to go from activity to activity with ease. After all, you must show the guests a good time.

We arrived in Plain City at 8:10 a.m. which meant, we were up and out by 7:15. I am a little OCD about berry picking so we had to arrive early to get the best rows of bushes, we had to be there before it got crowded and hot, and we had to pick only the finest fruit for my culinary projects. I have become a a berry snob. There, I said it. The kids showed cousin Austin and Evin how to pluck the best quality berries

and it was a field trip with black berry benefits. How cool is it that even Austin woke up early enough to come along and spend time with his cousins. Do you think it had anything to do with the fact that Evin was going? Perhaps having a 16 year old girl join us influenced his decision? I'm just sayin.

After two hours and over ten pounds of fruit in our baskets, it was a berry fine morning. Berry fine indeed!

We worked up an appetite and enjoyed a great picnic lunch at Hannah Park in Gahanna.

The kids monkeyed around and had Evin push them on the swings 355 times. They were all shouting, "Watch me slide, Evin!" Hey, Evin, "Look at me on the climbing bars!" Poor Evin was being tugged in four different directions. Natalie climbed up the jungle gym and was so high
that she was actually reaching for the clouds in the sky. Eli kept swinging higher and higher
until I thought he would wrap himself around the top of the swingset. These kids are fearless.

Since the children were not sufficently wiped out, we decided to bring out our hospitality gift from Sheryl and Evin: A Slip-N-Slide. It is a grass watering, physical challenge, and coordination type outdoor play toy. Oh lord, let them burn off any additional craziness they may have left. There was slipping, sliding,

smiling, and soaking. They loved the experience and I must admit, I love the energy they burned while playing with the new gizmo. Thank you Sheryl and Evin for gifting us with such a marvelous water toy.

Clearly, these photos show the excitement and enjoyment level of the recipients. You can't see me grinning because I am the one behind the camera, but trust me, I was giddy.

This is what it finally looked like at 7:30 tonight

after my mastermind plan of non-stop, balls to the wall activity. Oh, sweet heaven, it has been a berry, berry nice day. Now, it is officially my time to surrender to exhaustion.

Tomorrow.....groupn rejuvination. Ahhhh, berry nice!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The In Law Lottery- I WON IT

When my friends complain about their crazy in laws I listen. I hear what they are saying but I do not fully understand the complexity of the situation. When I married Jeff I won the in-law lottery. There is very little drama in our relationship.

Of all of the families I could have inherited by marriage, I hit the jackpot. The Slutsky clan is like an extension of my own family-- only shorter and more fun.

How many brother and sister in laws willingly open up their home to the friends of the sister in law, like moi? My best friends (the Gladins) are here visiting from Virginia Beach. With all of our extra house guests, an Au Pair, college students home for the summer, and our own 6 kids, we were hanging up the NO VACANCY sign. So, Marc and Edye are hosting MY FRIENDS at their home, my friends are staying with my brother and sister in law. How cool is that?

It does not hurt that Marc and Edye's house is pristine, clean and quiet with a beautiful backyard and an outdoor living room. Who wouldn't prefer to bunk at their house given a choice?

Awwww, hell I want to live there. Compared to my overgrown weed garden, dandelion valley, honey stained carpet, sharpie mural couches, and Jackson Pollack walls, it is like Jeff and I are the New Albany Super Eight, and Marc and Edye are the New Albany Ritz Carlton! Maybe someday my house will be organized, clean and silent, but today, tomorrow and next week, there is not a chance.

Tonight after we all went out to dinner, we went back to Marc and Edye's for a very impromptu patio party.

We sat outside enjoying the company and the amazing cool summer night. There were stars in the sky and plenty of cool breezes. We gazed into the fire pit, roasted marshmallows
for smores and sipped red wine. With my IN LAWS. Do you understand that these folks are my family? I like them.

Jeff was able to smoke the Macanudo I bought him. He did his best Godfather impression
and was relaxed to spend some time just hanging out with us.

It was the kind of night that you remember for a long time- the kind of night where you laugh, share embarrassing stories (like when I waxed Jeff's ass and he looked a baboon) and just get along because you like each other.

I am so blessed. I won the in law lottery- big time.

Monday, June 28, 2010

The $1000 Jeopardy Question, answered by a 4 year old named Eli Slutsky

It has been a long standing family tradition to record Jeopardy on the tivo, and watch it after dinner. We have been challenging Amanda and Mitchell to games of Jeopardy for years. We typically play for money and bragging rights.

Imagine our pleasant surprise when Eli correctly answered the $1000 Jeopardy question before Alex Trabeck finished asking. Jeff was completely blown away. My hair brained field trips are totally paying off. I am going to be the mother of the year.

I asked Jeff to rewind the program so I could get this on video, obviously, this is a re-enactment of what happened, but it is genuine. We did not tell Eli how to respond, he was simply watching Jeopardy with us, and piped up with the correct response. He is 4 years old and he was able to get it right.

OMG, he nailed it. The artist is Dale Chihuly, and after taking the kids to the Franklin Park Conservatory a million times, my four year old child was able to get the thousand dollar question right, when none of the adult contestants were able to answer at all. If anyone ever doubted that the kids were learning from all of my adventures, I would point to this video re-enactment as my glory.

Next year when Eli starts soaking up all the fun facts in kindergarten, I pity the fool that plays him in Jeopardy. Take that Alex Trabeck.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sunday of Exhaustion

If you have read this blog for more than 5 minutes, you already know that my daily goal is: to exhaust my children. I plan enough activity and stimulation to get us from breakfast to bedtime without any boredom. It is not always easy to do, but for the most part, I give it my best shot.

On Sundays I encourage (beg, plead and nag) Jeff into joining in my hair brained schemes. Sunday is traditionally a family day and I try to make plans that include both Mommie and Daddy. You will see in the photos that by bribing Jeff with mass quantities of Diet Coke, I can get him have a good time too.

These are the photos of the new game I created. I call it fun and learning with french fries. Our stop at FIVE GUYS was educational. My children were simply joining us in a lesson about letters. I have geniuses I tell you. Geniuses!

My kids spell using french fries. And some folks spend money on My Baby Can Read and Hooked on Phonics. Get Real.

Today was the Easton Art Fair. This is a favorite one of my FREE field trips. There is always a great kiddie art center set up near the fountains. If I had really given this some thought I would have dressed the kids with their bathing suits under their clothes, but see, I am not perfect. I totally spaced it off. I schlepped them to the Easton Art Fair in the wrong clothes- Oy Vay!

Color Your World had a nice booth where the kids could paint a ceramic tile. They all created a tile

and managed to keep their outfits clean. I was not sure of the stain level in ceramic glaze, so I micromanaged the damage. I can't wait to pick up the fired tiles in a few weeks. These will make great trivets and hot pads in the kitchen.

Everyone created a kite from recycled materials. These are crafted from recycled plastic bags, venetian blind string, street sweeper bristles and bamboo. Each child colored to customize their kite with markers.

Again, we came out unscathed and the level II clothing stayed relatively clean and dry. I am medicated enough to allow my children to use regular markers while fully clothed. I did not even look to see if they were washable markers, I just rolled with it. Can you imagine?

All four of my kite launchers enjoyed the breezy day on the square in front of Brio. Flying their kites was a blast.

It was ideal for exhausting them too. It does not get any better than saying, run, run run! Run faster, fly that kite higher into the wind.

After we did two crafts I got a wild idea to let the kids run through the fountains while fully dressed. Why not? They were overheated from all the action and this was the perfect way to cool them off and continue on my path to burn off any remaining energy they had left.

So they were soaked to the bone- Big Whoop. Allowing them to get completely drenched while in clothes shows that I am not completely anal about their outfits, right?

We stopped for a mango, chocolate chip Yagoot.

Please note the large size divided by four, plus Mommie and Daddy helped too. The kids used this opportunity to re-fuel for the trip inside the lego store.

Jeff and I both were in awe of the lego store. We watched as the customers lined up to buy the big boxes and kits.

When a cup of legos is fifteen bucks, and the limited edition and fancy sets cost at least $50-$75 a pop, we decided we were the only ones there who weren't plunking down a hundred beans. What recession? Ackkkkk.

I succeeded. This was a fun day. It was my Sunday of exhaustion.

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