Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A Pool Party to Remember

We had a great pool party this past weekend with Brewster Boys and their cousins and friends. It wasn't a birthday party, but basically that's what it ended up being. The kids spent almost all of their time in the pool all day, so that meant I could relax and talk to our guests without getting interrupted. It just might be the best $40 I've ever spent.

Punky squirts the hose as Russell and Bethany respond with their water guns

Punky cries after being hit by the water guns

Punky ventures into the pool with the hose for protection

Punky blasts Bethany with the hose as she lies down in the pool

A good time was had by all

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Russell's 7th Birthday: A Weekend in Reno

In what is now an annual tradition, we spent Russell's birthday weekend away from home in Reno, Nevada. We chose Reno because we were fortunate to have been given a free room by Jenny's college friend Christine. After a 5-hour driving ordeal through the Sierra Nevada mountains, we arrived at the Peppermill Hotel & Casino, one of the newest properties in Reno.

Except for a brief jaunt to Circus Circus, we basically did not leave the hotel during our 2-night stay in Reno. There were plenty of restaurants, entertainment, and of course, a huge heated swimming pool to keep up busy. At night after putting the kids to sleep, I took about an hour each night to play the slot machines and keno (for the first time).

From my perspective, the trip was a success. Everyone had fun and we enjoyed hanging out with Jenny's friend Christine and her family. I must admit that I really do miss hanging out at casinos every now and then.

The iconic entrance to Reno sign

The entrance to the Peppermill Hotel & Casino

Jenny makes a toast to our friends at the Oceana Restaurant at the Peppermill

Our suite at the Peppermill

Punky tries his hand at driving a video game while holding onto his dinosaur

Russell rides the Harley video game

The Brewster Boys underneath the elephant at Circus Circus

The Brewster Boys are all smiles before heading out for the pool

Video of Russell's 7th Birthday Party on the Last Day of School


Monday, June 15, 2009

Happy 7th Birthday Russell

This Friday was Russell's 7th birthday. Rather than hosting a party at our home or a kiddie palace (i.e. Chuck E. Cheese or Pump It Up!), we decided to have a birthday celebration at Russell's 1st grade class on the last day of school (the same day as Russell's birthday). This is the 2nd year that we've done this.

Russell's classmates are a great bunch of kids. Many of the kids in Russell's class are recent immigrants or from families of modest income, so I was especially glad that these kids would be attending Russell's party. Aware that Russell is "different", several of the girls look after Russell like a little brother. They help the teacher when needed, and often guide Russell during classroom assignments.

For the party, we brought a SpongeBob cake, pizza and goodie bags. As I brought the pizzas into the classroom, Russell's classmates all turned around and shouted together "Pizza!"--as if on cue. For his last day of 1st grade, Russell was King of the Classroom.

Jenny lights the birthday candle as Russell and his excited classmates look on. That's Punky on left watching the lighter flame.

Russell prepares to blow out the candle

The SpongeBob birthday cake

Russell and his friend Christopher, whose birthday is only 11 days after Russell's

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Russell Laments the Loss of Pokemon

As readers of this blog are aware, Russell is a huge Pokemon fan. It was one of the few reliable means for me to verbally engage him on a regular basis--we played games, battled on Nintendo, read books, watched videos and showcased his Pokemon collection. It is one of his pure joys in life

Late last week at school, Russell threatened a teacher with a "body slam", which is an "attack" by his favorite Pokemon Pikachu. Prior to Pokemon, he would typically say he would "hit" someone, if they made him angry, so this was not unusual for him to verbalize in this manner.

Unfortunately, this caused Jenny to overreact by taking away virtually all of his Pokemon--the toys, Nintendo 64 and Pokedex. Russell was quite saddened by this loss, and he reacted by drawing in our bathtub with soap crayons. I hope Jenny reconsiders her drastic move. He cries to me at night when I put him to sleep.

Russell loves "Hitmonlee", and a representation of his blue drawer, which formally contained his Pokemon collection (three circles are the knobs)

To the right are several Magnemites, and a pokeball on the bottom left