Friday, May 29, 2009

Joey's New Phrase

Joey has picked up a new phrase.

Even though the enunciation is lacking, the tone and volume are unmistakable. He's obviously heard it many times from Sir-Poops-a-Lot himself, Big Brother Micah -- who has made up a song (sung very loudly) to let us know that he is in need of some hiney-wiping assistance.

It's just hilarious to hear Joey singing, from his carseat, from his bed, in the middle of the living room, "I'm finished! I'm fi-i-i-i-nished!" :)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Haircuts

Call it desperate. Call it adventurous. Call it crazy. Call it genius. Call it what you want...

I saved $25 today. Again.

That's right. I've added to my growing list of "jobs" haircutting. I finally got tired of paying for little boys haircuts, and with the encouragement of a friend (thanks, Becca!), decided to give it a try. I've gotta say, I'm pretty proud of myself. I don't think they look too bad! Admittedly, the boys start looking shaggy a little quicker than with a "real" haircut, but I think we can handle that. I just pull out the clippers, scissors, squirt bottle, and popsicles and have at it again!

I tried Joey's once. His sweet baby hair is still just too soft and fine for my unrefined and clumsy fingers to be able to do much. So I'm still paying for his haircuts as this point. And the big brothers whine that I take too long, and they get too hot sitting outside in the sun. BUT, I'm saving about $25 everytime I do this. Wooopeee!

If only I were brave enough to cut my own...

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Out with the Old, In with the "New"

It was time. After nearly six years, it was time to say goodbye to Bret's little Ford Ranger. It had been a good little truck. It had done it's job and served us well.

BUT, it was a stick shift. And I'm one of those girlie girls who never learned to drive those very well...so never drove it...and have since pretty much forgotten. The intent when we bought the truck was for me to learn. But if I still haven't after this long, well...

AND, it could only transport a driver and one other passenger safely. With a family of five now, this was simply becoming more and more impracticial, inconvenient, and handicapping.

AND, while we can never know for sure, after nearly 115K miles, signs of a slow and painful death were beginning to show.

AND, I recently began a new little job which pays just enough to make a "new" truck payment.

It was time.

So goodbye little Ranger.
(Which, by the way meant cleaning it out - lots and lots of spare change for the piggy banks!)And hello "new" Xterra -- with an automatic transmission and seating for five! On the way home last night, Micah and Conner got to ride in daddy's new truck. And there was even still room for me and Joey and Bret's mobile office/library and all of his other "stuff!" (If you ever rode in the Ranger, you know what I mean! :)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Pokemon

Conner loves Pokemon.

Conner. Loves. Pokemon.

No really, he loves Pokemon.

I just don't love Pokemon.

It all started about a year ago, when a friend brought a Pokemon book to worship. Conner saw it, and it was love at first sight. A month or two later, when he was still talking about it...and happened to still have some birthday money...we went to Barnes and Noble...and Conner became the proud owner of The Pokemon Ultimate Handbook.

He has read and read and studied and studied and studied that book. And it shows. The cover is very worn. The pages are dirty and bent and taped. The binding as been taped and glued together on more than one occasion. Of course part of that is because Joey has gotten ahold of it a few times. But mostly, it's because this book has been loved.

I've done some research on Pokemon. I thought it would be good if I had some kind of idea what it is that my kids is so fascinated with. Here's what Wikipedia had to say:

"The name Pokémon is the romanized contraction of the Japanese brand, "Pocket Monsters" as such contractions are very common in Japan. The term "Pokémon", in addition to referring to the Pokémon franchise itself, also collectively refers to the 493 fictional species that have made appearances in Pokémon media." I also learned that the company is fourteen years old, and is the second most successful and lucrative video game-based media franchise in the world, behind only Nintendo's own Mario series.

Interesting.

So what is it that Conner likes about these little guys? Well, I asked him this afternoon, and this is what he said:

They have super powers. They look like creepy creatures, except they’re not. The thing I like about them is that they live in a Pokeball. And the coolest thing is that when you throw it, the Pokemon collect inside the Pokeball. And the coolest thing about Pokeballs is that they’re half white and half red. And they have a little circle in the middle. There’s like, a thousand Pokemon and I like it because they’re all different. Not even one of them is the same.

The thing about Pokemon battles is sometimes there is a type of Pokemon battles that there just has to be just rock types, sometimes just electric, sometimes just normal, and sometimes just ghost.

I like Pokemon movies because there are more than one Pokemon in it.

But he didn't say the other reason that I think he loves them. I think he loves them because they are a collection. And each little Pokemon comes with a lot of little random facts and trivia. Next to each one's picture in the book, you are told which type of Pokemon it is (ie - grass, poison, electric, etc...), you are told which region it is from (I think there are three), what it evolved from or can evolve into (most of them have three stages), what "moves" it can make (in battle), it's height, it's weight, and a couple of other random things. Conner has a lot of these things memorized. He really just eats up that kind of stuff.

He also likes to draw Pokemon. The other day, he decided that he was going to draw them all, so that we could play some kind of game with them. On that day, we drew 53 Pokemon, and the next day we drew 30-something. He picked out four of the favorite ones that we drew that day. I've also included the page out of the book so that you can see what they really look like. Conner does a pretty good job, if you ask me! (And yes, our deal is often that I draw the black lines, and he colors them in...)
Skorupi:

Staravia:
Staraptor, which happens to evolove from Staravia:

and Seedot:

And, of course, if Conner is drawing Pokemon...Micah has to draw them too. Only Micah doesn't look at the book. He just makes his up. This is Wony Bony.When we play Pokemon battles, Conner gets out his book. Then he chooses a Pokemon that he would like to be, and you are left with only the ones on the same page to choose from. Each Pokemon has certain "moves" they can use during battle. They are listed in his book, and when we play, you can of course, only use the moves listed for your Pokemon -- but Conner is the one who always holds the book. I can't hold the book so that I can see the list. But I can only use the moves listed for my Pokemon. I get in "trouble" if I use the wrong move. And I get in "trouble" if I do the right move, but act it out wrong. So I guess. Luckily, there are a few moves that are pretty common, and I've picked up on those!

Why don't I like them? 1) Pokemon battles are so exhausting for me mentally. I have a really hard time not getting frustrated and losing my patience. And Conner often gets pretty rough when we play. But I do it, because Conner loves to. 2) They're anime. 3) Conner just gets so obsessed with these little guys sometimes, where it seems that Pokemon is all he can think about, all he can talk about, all he wants to play. 4) As I said before, Pokemon exhaust me. There are so many facts and trivia to keep up with, and we (Bret and I) often get in "trouble" if we don't know the stuff that Conner thinks we should. The guessing games that he likes to play ("What region is each Pokemon from?" or "We don't have to really battle. You can just say Pikachu's moves and I'll tell you if you win or not.") are really just mentally exhausting, because they are often played at times that I've said "no" to "real" battles because I'm really trying to get something else done, and he's just kept on and on and on asking me to do some kind of Pokemon with him so that I've agreed to whatever game this is, Micah is whining and Joey is throwing a fit, Conner doesn't seem to understand that he might should pause for a minutes if I'm talking to someone else or have to go into another room or have a baby screaming in my ear, and my puny little brain ends up not doing any of the things I'm working on well.

So there you have it. A documentary on Pokemon at the Wells household. I guess I'm glad that there's something out there for Conner to like so much...but if you have a little boy who is starting to get into super heroes and action figures and stuff like that...be warned. And Conner doesn't even know that the show comes on everday or that there are Pokemon trading cards... Your life might never be the same! :)

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day Fun

We went to Mom's and Dad's last night for the Memorial Day holiday. The boys (including Conner and Micah, although they left early with Yogi) went fishing this morning. They had a great time. They caught lots and lots of fish, and kept nine of them. Then we spent the afternoon all playing outside and pitching in to prepare dinner: fresh fish, fresh quail (no, these were not the exact ones that we watched hatch a few months ago, they were from another batch -- but the boys were still incredibly okay with eating quail just like the ones they watched hatch!), potatoes and green beans and squash straight from the garden, homemade bread, salad, and homemade ice cream. Yummm-mmmy!


We had water gun fights.
We played baseball in the front yard.
And Bolo Ball.The guys did the bulk of the food preparation and cooking -- it was all stuff they caught, hatched, or grew.
We got into MeeMaw's Godiva chocolates.
I think nearly everyone either helped in the garden or was out there at some point.There was the fishing trip. (If you ask him, Conner will insist that he did not catch a fish. He only released them. It was actually quite upsetting when there was a "keeper." Micah, however, did "catch some fish!")
Yogi, Micah, and Conner had lots of fun chasing and catching chickens.
We just plain ol' enjoyed one another's company. It was a good day -- and we remember all of those who have sacrificed so much to give us this freedom.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Conner's Backpacking/Camping Trip

Bret and Conner went on a "real" camping trip last night. By "real" I mean not in our living room, not in our backyard, but in a state park. No electricity, no running water, no Mom a few feet away to run to the store to get some hot chocolate. Just Bret and Conner, and some friends -- Tod, Lucas, and Hunter. They went out to Dinosaur Valley State Park, and actually had to backpack through the woods for a little over a mile to get to the campsite.

This trip has been planned for awhile, and Conner has been so excited about it. He got to go with Bret to get a few camping supplies, he got to be in on the choice of destinations, he got to pick out some of his special food to take along, and he "helped" Bret pack his backpack (And by "helped," I mean that Bret packed and Conner sat next to him coloring in a coloring book, pretending to be interested.)

We also got on the DVSP website to check it out. They actually had a little booklet that you could download called "The Birds of Dinosaur Valley." Conner is kind of into birds. He has a "Bird Bible" (National Audubon Society's Field Guide to Birds) that he actually spends a lot of time looking at and reading sometimes. So we downloaded and printed the Bird Guide, and he went through and highlighted all of the birds that he was most likely to see -- the ones that are abundant or common in the spring or summer. (There was a little table telling you how likely you are to see each species during each season.) Then he went through his Bird Bible, learned how to use the index, and bookmarked each one of those birds. He was pretty excited.

So after they had backpacked to their campsite and gotten the tent set up, Conner pulled out his binoculars and started looking....and after all of that, he didn't see any birds. :( It was pretty cloudy, and a litte rainy...and honestly, I think he was having so much fun doing other stuff that he kind of forgot to look a lot of the time!

They got to go on several mini-hiking trips, where they just explored some of the trails and scenery. The Paluxy River runs through DVSP, and it's really kind of pretty.We were a little worried that one of the dinosaurs might find their tent while they were asleep -- but apparently "Off" sprayed on the tent works wonders!

There was a lot of just running around, playing, and just plain ol' having fun, too. (Maybe another reason that there were not many birds to be seen!)On one of the little hiking trips, they came upon a place that the river kind of made a little pool. And what else do a bunch of boys in the woods do when they come upon a still body of water, but skip rocks?!They did also go down to the track site and see the dinosaur tracks, but they didn't get any pictures of that this time.

...and then before they knew it, it was time to pack up and head home. I think that by the time it was all said and done, they had hiked for over five miles between 5pm Friday night and noon today. And Bret only carried Conner's backpack for the last few minutes. Conner was a real trooper. I just don't know when he got that big!

I really think that a good time was had by all. It sounds like it was one of those special things that you do with you kids that actually works like you want it to. I think they both really feel a little closer, like there may have been some real bonding going on. That's so good, because lots of times it seems like you go out of your way to do something fun with your kids, and instead the fun is sucked out by whining or fighting or bad attitudes. I know Bret had fun with just Conner...but I also know he is just itching inside for the day when he can take all three of the Wells brothers camping. (And so am I -- "me time" for Mommy!)