Friday, May 28, 2010

Velvet's 10th Birthday!

Our dog Velvet turned 10 years old today! It is amazing when we think about it, she has been with us forever! Before the kids were born, even before we were married, she has been there through it all. She spends most of the day now laying under our bed, but she does make appearances to bark at the mail man or UPS man, or to greet Andy when he gets home from work. She knows time very well, and knows just when to come downstairs for these events.

We decided to make her some cupcakes for her birthday. Velvet loves sweets! She especially loves sugar cookies, but it was just too hot to spend all day in the kitchen making cookies. So we went with vanilla cupcakes and I spelled out her name with frosting. The kids were excited, but I don't think Velvet could have cared less.

I made Andy put her on the chair (outside of course) so we could get her picture while we were singing Happy Birthday. She knew something weird was going on, but she just wasn't sure what it was. She never sits on our chairs, so it was making her a little upset. As soon as we were done singing she took off with her cupcake and laid in the grass for awhile.

She loves to get presents, especially the unwrapping part, so we were able to coax her back in the house. She grabbed the presents and just started going at them. She knows how to unwrap them in record speed. She got a new travel food dish and a new Frisbee like toy.

So long preschool...

we will miss you! The kids were not very excited that today was their last day of preschool. They LOVED preschool, and so did I. I loved being able to drop them off, knowing that they were well taken care of, and I never had to worry. I never worried for one second at this school, as the teachers treat the kids as if they were their own. They really were THE BEST! We couldn't have asked for a better preschool experience. Thank you Mrs. Wallace and Mrs. Wise and Weekday Preschool!!!

Here is Faye with her friends, Maddie and Carly. Drew decided he would rather swing than get his picture taken. Faye and Drew told me at lunch the other day, "Mom, we're going to be friends with Maddie and Carly forever!"

I'm excited the kids will start Kindergarten in the fall, but the kids are not as excited. They have been asking me why they can't keep going to preschool. Hopefully we'll have as good an experience at South Side.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


I finally took the kids to get their pictures taken at the mall today. It is such a drag for me, getting them all dressed, keeping them clean, and then getting them to actually stand/sit for their picture, that I don't take them often. I should get the kids there more regularly, but it just doesn't happen. Then you have to actually decide what pictures you want, and that is even more difficult. They're all so cute! You can view their pictures here.

Alex went first today by himself. He did really good. He sat and smiled and was really cute. I was really surprised by this, as I figured he'd be running and jumping all over the place (but keep reading).

Faye went second, and was such a little cutie getting her picture taken. Drew, well, Drew was himself. He doesn't like to listen, or have his picture taken, so I guess he did OK under the circumstances. He knew that once he was done he could play some Super Mario Bros on the Nintento DS, so he sort of listened - and jumped around in between pictures. He won't smile, but if that is the worst thing then I can live with that. I think we did end up with one smile. When I ask him why he won't smile, he still tells me he doesn't know how. What?

The group picture was a little more difficult. Alex wanted to be up there with Drew and Faye, but he wouldn't sit or stand still. We spent about 30 minutes trying to get a good group photo, with most of the time spent chasing Alex. I got my workout in for today! Maybe next year it will work a little better, when I can bribe him with something too.

Sunday, May 23, 2010


We had a busy but fun weekend. I think this was the first weekend in May that it has not been raining, so we had a lot of outdoor work to do. First off, mowing. Alex is a big help there... or at least he thinks he is helpful. As soon as he sees our mower, he grabs his bubble mower and heads out to mow. We can't keep him away, and we try. If he is in the house, he looks out the window and yells out, "MOW" in a really sad voice. Once outside, he gets wherever Andy is mowing, so Andy has to keep stopping the mower. I think I'll take him to the store next time we mow. But it is really really cute!

I spent all weekend pulling weeds. I missed out last year, with Alex being a baby I just did not have time so our yard was really neglected. I'm paying for it this year for sure! I made good progress, but have a lot more work to do. An overwhelming amount, but I'm sure it will get done, and if not, it will be there next year. It was about 90 degrees today, and as I was pulling weeds I decided I'd set up the pool for the kids. They were all inside, so I figured I would get it filled up and let the water warm up before they were ready to play.

They soon discovered the pool, and just couldn't wait, so they got on their swimsuits and jumped right in. The water was still freezing, but little kids just don't seem to care. I sure wish I could be that way!

They splashed and splashed until lunch(and after too), when I had to refill the pool because it was almost empty. They were throwing water in the air to make rain. At least our flowers/grass got watered this morning. And my clothes I hung up outside took a little longer to dry... but I didn't think that one out too well so that was my fault.

Andy was in the house looking up prices for van batteries. Our van died this morning, but Andy was able to get it started and found a good deal on a new one. I told the kids when he walked outside to get him. They did a fairly good job - and I promised them they wouldn't get in trouble!

All the outdoor play really wore out Alex, and he fell asleep watching some Sesame Street on You Tube(yes, our baby loves You Tube). He rarely takes a nap, but he needed one today ! I had a hard time convincing him to come inside this afternoon, so I'm guessing when he wakes up he'll be heading for the pool again.

Avast ye!!

My little pirates(in their pj's)!

Faye and Drew went to a friend's birthday party yesterday. It was pirate themed. The party was for their preschool friend Ozzy. I'm not sure they actually ever play or talk to Ozzy at school, but I try to encourage them to be social. I asked them if they wanted to go, and they were very excited about going to a party. They even picked out his present, although I think they picked out what they wanted, rather than what they thought he would like.

Ozzy's mom decorated the whole yard - the sandbox had buried treasure, they could walk the plank, there were torches with fire, etc. It was a beautiful day and the yard looked really cool. I wish I had thought about taking my camera and getting some photos! When we first arrived they were a little shy and wanted me to stay, but after a few minutes they were running around with their pirate swords, so I told them I was leaving and they were OK with it.

They got goody bags with eye patches and compasses, and after their bath put them on and ran around our yard. They had a blast, and the eye patches were back on first thing this morning too!

The picture is a little blurry, but you get the idea. Two little pirates running around in their pj's with eye patches and swords. They slept really good last night!

Friday, May 21, 2010


Alex's favorite words - or most used anyways

  1. Me!! Being the 3rd child, he really knows how to assert himself. If I ask if somebody wants something/wants to go someplace, without even knowing what I am talking about, he yells out 'ME!' He also uses this if I try to help him with something that very clearly(in his mind) he can do himself. We never experienced this with Drew and Faye. They always wanted me to do everything for them - and still do today.
  2. Mine! Apparently everything belongs to Alex, or so he thinks. Faye and Drew are having a hard time with this one, and I now often hear them arguing back and forth with Alex. The conversation usually goes like this: Alex: Mine, Faye: No, mine. Alex: Mine, Faye: NO! MINE! And on and on and on.
  3. Mom, Dad, Bay(Faye), Eww(Drew). He loves to point to each of us and call out our names. It is a fun game(well, for him) that he can play over and over and over.
  4. Help. He asks for help with everything, even before he needs it. Contradicts with #1, but usually goes something like this; I give him his water bottle and try to open it for him, but he yells ME! so I hand it over and then he yells HELP!, before even attempting to open it.
  5. Drink. He runs to the fridge and yells out 'Drink!' If nobody is around he flips out and starts screaming and crying - he hasn't figured out how to open the door yet, thank goodness! It appears he also hasn't figured out he needs to ask one of us to get him a drink, rather than shout 'Drink' at the fridge.
  6. Home. I think he is a little confused about this one. He knows home, when we talk about if daddy is home or at work, but he also uses 'home' when he wants to go somewhere in the van.
  7. Here. He just learned this word a few weeks ago, and loves to use it.
  8. Diaper. This is also a new one he just learned. I've been really dragging my feet over starting potty training with him. I think he is ready, but I guess I'm not. We finally started this week, which only includes him sitting on the potty when we change his diaper(no success yet but he's having a lot of fun), and watching big brother to hopefully get the idea/inspiration. When he is done trying, he'll go to his room and try to climb the changing table and tell me 'diaper'. When he needs a new diaper he'll also start messing with it and tell me 'diaper'. Which leads me to believe he is ready to start potty training, among several other things. Today though, when I told him he was going to be a big boy, he shook his head and said, 'no, baby.'
Most of these are probably normal favorite words for an almost 2 year old. He started off really slow talking, but now he talks all the time. He repeats just about every word I say, and his vocabulary is huge! I'm so amazed how quickly little kids learn! He doesn't like to combine words too much yet, but I hear sentences sometimes. If he can get by with one word, that's all we get!

Sometimes he comes up with really cute things he says. Tonight after dinner we had chocolate chip cookie bars for dessert. The kids each had one, but wanted more of course. Andy cut them each a small piece and told them to go sit down. Alex came back over to his chair and then told us, while shaking his head "That's it!" He knew he was pushing his luck with two.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Kids say the funniest things!

Faye and Drew have been asking me over and over, for weeks if not months, if they can have their friend Maddie from preschool over to play. I finally asked Maddie's mom, and we decided they would have a play date after school on Friday. The kids were so excited!

When Maddie arrived, the kids ran around the house shouting "Maddie, Maddie look at this!" or "Maddie come look over here!" It was a little crazy. But they soon calmed down and colored pictures while I made lunch. Drew looked up and finally realized her mom was gone and asked where she went. Then he asked me, "How many days is Maddie going to stay?" Kids say the funniest things!

Drew could not wait to show Maddie New Super Mario Bros. I told them they could play after lunch. They loved showing her their favorite game, and I think Maddie really liked it too! She would start giggling when the kids would do funny stuff in the game and it was so cute. Look how serious they all look!

We also got out the barn, which was a big hit. Faye and Maddie decided to pretend like they were chickens. It really is so much fun to just sit back and watch what the kids come up with!

Maddie's mom, Tiffany came to pick her up, along with Maddie's sister, Savannah, and the kids played awhile longer. We went out to the garden area and the kids were swinging and playing, and Maddie said, "This is the best time I've had in years!"

We could later hear all the kids deciding who was going to sleep where, working out all those details on their own. After they left my kids were trying to decide where we could have Maddie's parents sleep when they stayed over. They are too funny! Drew was a little upset when they left, but I assured him they could come over and play again, although they would probably not all stay the night!

The kids also had a field trip to the fire station at school on Friday. They got fire chief hats, and after they put their pj's on they wanted to wear them to bed. Drew wanted to know if firemen wore their hats to bed. They both were telling me all about what to do in case of a fire, and I was impressed! I usually feel like they don't listen at school, because I ask them what they talked about and they have no idea, but they must have been paying attention yesterday!

Thursday, May 13, 2010


Monday morning Andy asks me, out of the blue, "Do you want to fly to Boston tomorrow morning?" I of course don't even know how to answer, it is not like we are often traveling spur of the moment to miscellaneous locations. Then I realize, it must be a Slick Deal.

Yep, it is a Slick Deal. My husband... the Slick Deal champ! I told him after the TV purchase he couldn't look at Slick Deals for two months, but well, that didn't happen. It was an awesome deal we couldn't pass up. We flew from O'hare to Boston and back, all 5 of us, for less than $200 total! We had a fun and much needed mini-vacation!

I've never been to Boston before, and the kids had never flown before, so it was a great trip! Boston is really a beautiful city, and we were able to get around everywhere we wanted on the subway. The kids loved riding on the subway and buses and shuttles. We packed about a week's worth of activities into two days! I don't even remember how many subway rides and transfers and buses and shuttles we took, but it was a lot!

We headed to the North End of Boston first. We saw the Old North Church and a really old cemetery, and looked for a restaurant Andy wanted to try. It was closed, but there were lots and lots of other Italian restaurants, so we found one called Dino's and it was really good. It must be the Italian part of town.

We walked for a little while on the Freedom Trail...

And then made our way downtown. We saw lots and lots of really cool buildings and shops, but by then we had worn out the kids' legs and it was getting really cold!

We hopped on a free bus to the JFK Presidential Library the next day. We looked around the outside and walked down by the ocean. We decided not to pay the admission fee, as we figured Faye and Drew and Alex could care less, but it was a pretty cool place.

This is the view from the back of the JFK Library. It was cold and dreary, but it was a great view!

We hopped on the subway and had lunch at The Other Side Cafe, a restaurant that has lots of vegan food. It was nice to have something other than spaghetti when we travel, and my vegan BLT was really good. It was a short walk from there to the Prudential Center, where we rode the elevator up to the 50th floor. We could see all of Boston!

Fenway Park from the Prudential Center. A game was starting - you can see all the red!

The Nintendo DS came in handy while we were waiting at the airport. The kids could sit for hours and play Super Mario Bros. Our flight home was delayed by over 3 hours due to bad weather in Chicago.

The camera works great for entertaining the kids too! They love to take pictures!

Alex was worn out and slept at the airport while waiting for our flight...

The delay did give us time to hop back on the subway and visit Revere Beach. It was the first time the kids have walked on the beach. It was about 50 degrees and sprinkling, but we had a good time. The kids picked up seashells and rocks and played in the sand. The beach is very close to the airport, so we could watch the planes fly overhead. When we had to check-in at the airport and take our shoes off, we dumped a lot of sand out of our shoes on the floor!

The kids were so excited about the beach they would not stop jumping. Here Faye is in mid-jump!

It was an exhausting trip with 3 kids, especially since we forgot the stroller or backpack for Alex and had to carry him most of the way, but it was a lot of fun!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

moms day

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there!!

Faye and Drew made me a Mother's Day present at preschool last week. They told me about it several times earlier in the week, so I could tell they were really excited, but they did manage to keep what they made a secret. Friday they came dashing out of the classroom holding their gifts, wrapped in tissue paper, by them, with a card and everything. They couldn't wait for me to open them, but their teachers told the kids we had to wait until we got home to open them, and they have good reason. School dismissal is a little crazy, with kids and parents all over the hallway. If I don't put Alex in the stroller he is taking off down the hallway and playing with the water fountain or trying to get on the elevator with other kids. Faye and Drew and Maddie are hugging each other and lifting each other up, and then shouting goodbye to each other. It is crazy!

Once home, the kids ran, and I mean ran into the house and stood just inside the door waiting for me to get in the house, and shoved the gifts at me. They were so excited and that was just the best, to see them so happy! They were so proud of what they made - little soaps for me!

They also helped Andy pick out an orchid and pot for me. I've always thought they were so beautiful, but I've never had one before. I'll probably kill it, as I do most other flowering plants, but I'll try my best to keep it alive! Alex looks really interested in it, as he has been in all plants lately, which includes him pulling off all the leaves and flowers. I may have to keep it out of his reach. He took almost all the leaves off my violet, a few blooms off my hibiscus, and all the blooms off my daisy's outside! He also has been taking the leaves off my lemon balm, but he can't hurt that one. If only I could get him interested in my tarragon - it is already overgrown!

We went out to my favorite restaurant last night (which has margaritas of course), and the kids were so well behaved. Alex slept the whole time laying across my lap in the booth. He was once again completely out, since he hadn't had a nap yet. The restaurant was so loud, and his little hand kept falling down so it was hanging and had to be uncomfortable, but he didn't stir. It was really nice having him sleeping so we could sit and relax. Then we took the kids to the Planetarium. We've taken Drew and Faye a few times, but not since Alex was born. They all loved it, and Alex even sat through the whole show.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Day at the Park

It is a beautiful day in Champaign, not too much wind, and sunny. Tuesdays and Thursdays are long days (for me) now, since the kids have swim lessons at 5pm instead of in the morning. So we have to find something to do or I go crazy - mostly because the kids have so much energy. Where do they get this energy from? It is non-stop from 6:30am until bedtime, and their bedtime is 9pm! No naps, the only rest time I have is when they each pick out one PBS show to watch. I can't keep up!

Since it was so nice, we decided we'd pack a lunch and spend some time at Clark Park. We live so close to Eisner Park that we go there almost every day in the summer, so I love going to other parks and so do the kids.

We decided to put down blankets rather than eat at the picnic table like we usually do. The kids LOVED it. We sat under a couple of huge maple trees and it was cool and shady. PB&J's for the kids of course!

Faye wearing her new sunglasses...

This is the first time she wore them and we bought them about a month ago. It is the very first pair of prescription sunglasses she has had, and anytime she gets new glasses she refuses to wear them. I made her put them on for about 15 minutes today, and I'll have to keep doing that until she eventually gets used to them. What a terribly mean parent I am!!

Drew climbing across the bar...

He is so strong he can climb up any pole and then make his way across - even if it isn't meant for that! He was hanging there for about 5 minutes, after climbing across from the other side, asking me to take his picture.

Alex loves playing in our sandbox, which was another reason we chose Clark Park. They have a really huge sandbox with lots and lots of trucks! He really liked it, but had a hard time choosing which truck to play with.

We spent almost 3 hours at the park today and had a wonderful time. Some days being a stay at home mom is the best! Alex is now even taking a nap- I guess I wore one kid out! We decided next time it is nice we'll try Hessel Park.

New haircut

Isn't she cute?

Faye was in desperate need of a haircut. It was long and tangled and in her eyes. We talked about it, and she thought she'd like it a little shorter so it would be easier to brush. I love her hair shorter too! The stylist asked if she'd been swimming lately - apparently her hair is full of chlorine, which makes it even more difficult to brush. I wasn't surprised as she doesn't wash it very well after swim lessons and I noticed it was feeling very strange. We picked up some special shampoo for her hair, and it is already feeling and looking much better.

This morning she tried on this scarf I crocheted. I actually made it for myself, but it looks really really cute on her! It is a little long, so I think I'll make one for her a little shorter.