The boys had their last roller hockey game of the season last night. I am always amazed by how much kids improve during the course of the season. Ben is skating better and Ethan has decided he loves playing defense and has been making several good plays each game.
We brought our digital SLR and I played around with taking pictures in the terrible lighting at the rink. In the end I found that playing with the manual settings while using our old telephoto lens was no match to using our newer fixed lens. It boils down to having a big, fast lens inorder to capture as much light and detail with a fast shutter speed.
I also took some pictures of the girls. Here’s the full gallery. The lens I liked best was the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Camera Lens which was used to take the clearest of the action shots and the close ups of the girls. One of these days I’ll have the break down and buy a better telephoto.
I had a great practice with boys Wednesday night in our front yard, but their game last night was rained out. That’s the big downside to baseball in NY. Spring weather is unpredictable and frequently wet. I was hoping to get some more great photos, but instead I’ll post some video I took their first game.
The boys had their first baseball game last night. We got some great pictures and the kids had a lot of fun. They are really loving baseball this year now that they know so many of the other kids from school and other sports. What really amazes me is how much these kids improve from practice to practice. We got a great coach this year and between the times of little kid silliness we see flashes of great baseball. Nothing beats the beaming smile on a kid’s face when he gets a big hit or closes his eyes and still manages to catch the ball.
The folks at SmugMug.com were kind enough to give me a second 14 day trial after I told them my iMac died right after I started my first trial. The reason I’m looking at SmugMug is because I want to share some of our video and I’m not happy with Youtube. SmugMug has a better terms of service, better privacy options, and they aren’t flooded with trolls. I also want to get in the habit of uploading more of our photos for backup and to order prints.
Here’s my first test: A short clip of Ben telling me his plan of how to score a goal on Ethan during a soccer game in my mom’s driveway.
Here’s the transcript:
“We will…You do another confuse that’s not the same confuse and when you’re confusing him, I’ll shoot…you’re confusing him away from the net, I will score in his goal. Ok?”
I’m not sure which I love more…Ben making the hand binoculars inorder to tell me his secret plan, or seeing just how concerned Ethan is about our scheme.
I love that we’ve made the switch to stainless bottles for our family! After my recent review of the Earthlust bottles I am excited to have found another great option that I hadn’t heard of before. BILT makes bottles for both adults and kids and they might be just what you’ve been looking for! BILT’s Vite kids water bottle comes in colors or stainless (with a colored top) and retails for $11.50-$14 CAD. I was very happy to test these bottles out and Bilt generously offered one for each of the kids AND a 4th to give away to one of our readers! The kids were pleasantly surprised when the bottles we were sent had graphics on them! Ethan’s has what he calls a “transformer” robot on it, Ben’s has some cute little guys fishing (one caught a boot and the other a fish) and Jamie’s is PINK with a cute little bear-like creature on it. We have an extra the same as Ben’s (the one on the left) to give away!
Here is our family’s take on them:
- VERY cute bottles, the kids definitely prefer the look of these bottles compared to their Klean Kanteen. The designs we have would suit kids of all ages (not just toddlers like some Sigg I’ve seen).
- HUGE opening on top which will accommodate even the big chunky ice cubes that you get from standard trays. I am sure this would be a big plus for people without ice makers because in my opinion all drinks need ice!!!
- The big open top makes for easy cleaning.
- Sports tops are easy for kids to open on their own and they haven’t leaked for us.
- There is a loop on top that you can put your finger through to carry the bottle or add a clip to if you wanted.
- Lids are made of #5 food grade polypropylene (pp). Bilt says that “#5 PP is a plastic with good durability and no known leaching characteristics”.
- These 16 oz bottles are the PERFECT size for my kids (their Klean Kanteen are 12 oz but since the top screws inside the bottle I can’t fill them all the way).
- The kids (2 yr old Jamie included) have no trouble holding these bottles even though they hold more liquid. There are little indents on the sides for fingers to grip.
- This isn’t something that we need but for serious camping families Bilt says that the “thread pattern fits bottle adaptors of most backcountry water filters including msr and Katadyn; great for travel”.
- The bottles are dishwasher safe and have done fine so far in mine (although they recommend hand washing for longer life).
- When I asked 6 yr old Ethan which of his metal bottles (Klean Kanteen and Bilt) he liked to drink from the best he told me that he liked both the same and that both were good to drink from. I thought he might prefer one sports top over the other but he didn’t. He clearly likes the look of his Bilt bottle better though!
Here is Bilt’s Why Use Stainless Steel Bottles link!
We have an extra Vite Kids bottle just like Ben’s to GIVE AWAY!
- To enter please click over to the Bilt website and come back to comment on what you think of their adult bottles (or another product of theirs that you like). Warning… if you don’t do this luck won’t be on your side 🙂 !
- Contest is open to US and Canadian addresses only, one entry per person.
- CONTEST ENDS SUNDAY November 30th!
- I have quite a few current contests running right now on the blog (like a Siliskins baby bottle, Pillsbury gift bag, Huggies Free diapers, Personalized Name Stamp, Potty Training Book, and more to come next week) so go take a look!
*Wow there were a lot of entries! Congratulations to Diane on winning!
John has been taking the boys to most of their hockey practices but today we all went and it was great to see! Both of them were so smiley and skated really well. It was a fun morning. Just wish I was a better photographer to capture it!
We aren’t a family of morning people, mainly because staying up late is fun. This summer we’d usually let the boys stay up until 9:30 or 10pm (okay sometimes even later) with John and I staying up until midnight. Things needed to change with the start of school so I was happy to review some books for the Parent Bloggers Network that dealt with going to bed and getting ready in the morning. Going to bed has never been an issue with any of our kids (probably because John is the one who usually puts the boys to bed), its just a matter of getting them to bed earlier now. However getting up and ready to go somewhere isn’t our thing around here! Its mainly me I suppose but with Ethan (our oldest) starting K and a 4th baby due next month, I’ve got to lead the way and get us all moving smoothly mornings! I am taking any help I can get!
I was surprised to find that Ready For Bed and Ready For The Day were really helpful in reminding ME (and John) how to help make these times of transition go more smoothly for everyone. I had just anticipated them being cute stories to read the kids to prepare them for bed and getting ready in the morning, and they are, but they are also great tools to remind parents of the important role they play in making these times enjoyable instead of dreaded. There is a section in the front of the books telling “grown-ups” about the books color coding: GREEN words validate feelings, BLUE words offer choices and RED words encourage. When I first saw this I thought the book might be talking down to parents but as I read the book I didn’t feel that way at all. I “know” how to be a good mom but I don’t always make the right choices when dealing with my kids and I am not above needing a little guidance sometimes. It was helpful for me to read these books to my kids and see how the parents show their kids they are listening to them, give them options so the kids have a role in the situation and give them acknowledgement for making good choices. It can be really easy to become impatient and get frustrated with your kids when you’re trying to get them to bed or out the door in the morning but these books help parents to set the tone so that these times can be enjoyable. Oh, and I should mention that the kids liked the books too!
Right now I am feeling very proud of myself for getting the kids up and out for school without any problems so far this school year! I just didn’t think we’d have peaceful mornings. I had been stressing about it as the school year approached but I have been patient and also thought of some ways to put fun in our mornings. I have been getting the boys ready first and then letting them ride bikes in the driveway while I finish getting myself and Jamie ready. They have been speedy and I haven’t had to nag them because they know they’ll have time to play if they eat and get dressed when I ask them to. We have been early to school so far and it feels great to enjoy the mornings together and know I’m sending happy kids to school. I am sure that this little honeymoon won’t last forever and when I find myself getting cranky with them and running late I’ll just have to get out these books again to refresh my memory! I really think they are great for preschoolers through kindergarteners and I’m grateful that they came at the perfect time for our family!
John’s Thoughts – I’ve been real happy with our new bedtime and morning routines. The key is getting us all to bed at a decent hour. I’ve also given the boys permission to wake me up with an ice cube if they hear my alarm going off and I’m still sleeping. They LOVED this idea. No ice cubes yet, but the thought of it has us all jumping out of bed!
Ethan and Ben both had their last YMCA soccer yesterday. It was hot out but somehow it was one of their best days at soccer. Next summer Jamie can play and we’ll have one kid in each age group (fortunately they all meet at the same time and place). I lucked out and got quite a few good pictures of the boys and their friends AND a few cute ones of all 3 of our kids (of course I had to include some pretty silly pictures too)!
I have had too much good stuff to post about to keep up lately! I never wrote about the great weekend we had and its already Wednesday! Saturday was the boys’ last t-ball of the season and it was a gorgeous day.
I love that they are close enough in age that some years they will be on the same team for sports BUT sometimes they can get a little wound up together. We went straight to the air show after and saw a lot of cool planes. Ben decided he is going to be a “helicopter driver” we he grows up (he had just wanted to be a dad prior to this). He also wants me to buy him a real helicopter when he is big and I said yes (since he is just 3 and won’t really remember?). We did buy him a toy helicopter and he got to sit in a real helicopter twice.
YOU CAN ENTER HERE TO WIN A BOX OF FRUIT ROLL-UPS THAT YOU DESIGN!
Fruit Roll-Ups are definitely one of those lunch bag snacks I loved as a kid and now our boys love them too. When I told Ethan he could eat whatever he wanted at his hockey team’s end of season party he ate 5 of them pretty quickly. So I was glad we got picked by the Parent Bloggers Network to review the My Fruit Roll-Ups site. How fun to be able to design your own fruit roll-ups (when I was a kid they didn’t even have pictures on them yet). At first it was a toss up between ordering birthday themed ones for Ben or ordering ones to announce the upcoming birth of our 4th baby (I thought it would be fun for the kids to hand them out at school after their new sister is born). It was very easy and fun to design our own roll-ups. You can choose between 2 or 3 different images or sayings. I picked 3 and found a cute baby girl face and then wrote 2 different messages (“I have a new baby sister” and then the baby’s name). You can choose between 4 color options for the pictures and 3 colors for the messages. I wanted to show it to the kids before I finalized my order and was able to save my design for later. I of course had a last minute change of plans when I showed Ethan and I figured it would be more fun if he just designed them (I mean they are for the kids!). He picked a t-rex head and hockey player and then his own message. My birth announcement one will be saved in my account and I can always go back and order it later. We received email confirmation of our order and then the fruit roll-ups arrived in only 5 days! Needless to say my boys were very happy with them and I was really impressed with how nicely the design turned out.
We were lucky enough to try these ourselves and to give away a box of 30 for one of our blog readers to design themselves! To enter:
- visit My Fruit Roll-Ups and come back here and leave a comment on this post by Friday June 20th to let us know what pictures/messages you’d put on yours if you win.
- One comment per person.
- Include an email address so we can let you know if you’re the winner (chosen by Random.org).