Saturday, December 14, 2013

Busy week for Faye

Faye has had a very busy week. She was in the school spelling bee and had her very first piano recital! I'm very proud of all her hard work. Students had the option to try out for the spelling bee, and of course she wanted to try! They gave the students a quiz of 50 words and picked the top 13 students for the spelling bee. Faye was one of two 3rd graders who made it!

Faye did very well in the spelling bee, making it to round 9 I believe. She won't move on, only the top two move on to the next round, and she finished 4th.  She correctly spelled bumpy, yonder, gangster, kinsman, travesty, porosity, annihilation, & roustabout. She missed the word 'aphasia'. It was a word from the 9th grade list, and we never made it that far studying. If she had studied it I have no doubt she would have correctly spelled it. We went over the 8th grade words the night before the spelling bee, and she learned porosity and annihilation. She has a brilliant little mind and never forgets anything! I had to look up how to pronounce some of the words on her list - there were some difficult words!

Ready for her recital
Faye started taking piano lessons in October from Mary Novak. She is the sweetest teacher and I am so glad we found her. Faye loves playing the piano, and comes downstairs first thing every morning and plays a song or two in her pajamas. 

Practice before the recital
The recital was at Praire State College. She was able to play on a Steinway piano, which she was very excited about! She played Deck the Halls, and Rondino.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Snow Angel

Steve decided to make snow angels in our Rice Krispies this morning. He's really causing some trouble and making messes this year! The kids' theory is that he is being terrible because they injured him last year. One day last year he was sitting on our light fixture - a light fixture we NEVER use. One of the kids decided to turn the light on and burnt one leg completely off and the other was almost off. He had a little elf surgery though, which is why he has a bandage, and he is back for mischief this year!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Elf Mischief

 Our Elf Steve is back! He is definitely up to no good this year...

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Mittens for Alex

I decided to knit some mittens for the kids this year - these are made using the Classic Mittens pattern on Ravelry, size 5-7. I started with Alex since his hands are so little - I can knit a mitten in his size in an hour or so! I don't really know how to pick up the thumb stitches so there isn't a gap, and I'm sure there is a way, but otherwise I think they turned out great!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Gingerbread house

Today is the 1st day of Thanksgiving break for the kids. They are off school for an entire week! The past week of school they were having trouble getting up in the morning, and I was too, so we were thrilled to have a break.  I have a feeling I'll be ready for them to be back in school before the week is over though. I have a few things planned to keep us all busy, so hopefully we will all survive.

I found a gingerbread kit at Trader Joe's last week, and it looked really cute so I couldn't resist. I've always wanted to make a gingerbread house with the kids.  One year I even went as far as making plans, finding a vegan gingerbread recipe, and buying the candy to decorate it. But that was as far as I got. The kits are not very original or creative, but they are easy!

The little candy people were the cutest part of the kit. Of course my kids ended up breaking the head off one and using it for a tree topper. They put a gummy head on the body so it would look like Yoda. The other one went on upside down because he is falling off the roof.  And yes, that is icing on Alex's face. Sprinkles are everywhere, but it was worth the mess.

Monday, October 28, 2013


Saturday morning was the last soccer game, and I have to say I'm a bit happy it's over for the season.  This  last week it was really cold so the practices were cancelled, and it was quite chilly at the games as well, especially Drew's game, which was at 8:30 am. He was supposed to be there at 8:15am, which is earlier than we leave for school. I know people want to get the soccer games over with so they can do other things on Saturday, but that seems just a bit too early for me. I will be thrilled to have the next few Saturdays to sleep in - first time in 8 weeks! They both want to play soccer in the spring, and maybe Alex as well, but until then I'll enjoy the break on Saturday mornings.

The Homewood-Flossmoor soccer club gives all the kids who participate soccer trophies.  Faye was very excited to have her very first trophy. I find it a bit strange that they give every kid a trophy.  The boys won 2nd place in the pumpkin cup, played very hard all day long(9am-almost 3pm), and got a small little medal. Then at the end of the season they give everyone a trophy. It seems a little backwards, but I'm sure they have a reason.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


Walking to school

All lined up

Walking in to school!

Today was the first day of Kindergarten for Alex. I hope it goes well! He is still very shy, but he is slowly starting to get over his shyness. We had Kindergarten orientation yesterday morning, so we met his teacher Mrs. Viscardi and got to see his classroom.  He found his place at the table and found his hook to hang up his backpack.  The teacher gave the kids a snack -a bag of goldfish crackers, so he thought that was pretty cool. He seemed very excited (and just a little nervous) this morning.  I can't wait to find out how his day went this afternoon!

Monday, August 26, 2013

3rd Grade!

1st day of 3rd grade!  Faye and Drew are in separate classes this year for the first time ever.  I think it will be great for them to spend some time apart.  They didn't even want to get a picture together this morning - but I made them.  Andy was dancing and saying some crazy stuff to get Drew to smile, and it worked!  

Friday, August 23, 2013

Birthday card

This morning Alex gave me a birthday card he made for me. No, its not my birthday, and I think he knows that since my birthday was just several weeks ago.  He also gave me $5 of his money.  How sweet is this kid? I did tell him that it wasn't my birthday and that he should keep his money, but he said he wanted me to have it and then gave me a big hug. Aww... do I really have to send him to Kindergarten this year? I might want to keep him around a little longer.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Great Grandpa

This is a picture of my Great Grandpa Knight.  I never met him, as I think he died before I was born, but I just thought this was a pretty cool picture. Also this is a picture of his license to make cheese for 1940.  I got this copy from Oma (my grandma) the last time I was at her house. On the back was written "Bill Knight 1918?", which I assume is the year the picture was taken.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Camping with Kids


We took the kids on a camping trip over the weekend.  Its been a long time since we've been camping with kids( I think it was Father's Day 2010?).  I forgot how stressful it can be. Andy and I (and Velvet) used to love to camp. It was so relaxing and we love the outdoors. Our last big camping trip was in the fall of 2003 before kids.  We drove down to Alabama, camped all along the coast, ending up at a campground on the beach near Corpus Christi, Texas. We only planned to stay a night or two in Texas, but we loved it so much I think we stayed a week before heading home.  It was the best! 

It is not quite as relaxing with kids.  They get dirty... really really dirty. Like lets throw muddy rocks into the river and then wipe our muddy hands all over ourselves. Or lets take off our shoes and play in the gravel and look for treasure (garbage others have left behind). It just happened that this campground we stayed at this weekend (Kankakee River State Park)did not have real bathrooms or showers.  Not a good thing with little dirty kids! There is only so much you can get clean with a paper towel. There was a really nice bike/walking trail running all along the north side of the river.  But the kids kept wanting to veer off the main path onto some smaller overgrown trails. Fun, yes, but poison ivy? I was really nervous the kids would all end up covered head to toe in poison ivy.  The kids ended up with a bunch of bug bites, but no poison ivy.  We will probably camp again, but with kids - I will make sure there are showers next time!

Monday, August 12, 2013

For Sale!!

Andy and I rented our Champaign house out for the past year. It was not a good experience and I hope to never own a rental again.  We've decided to put it back up for sale - and we're hopeful that this time it will sell.  We've been back and forth almost every weekend since our tenants moved out the beginning of July.  We were back again this weekend to paint the dining room and take up the carpet in one of the bedrooms with hardwood floor. The pad was stuck to the floor so it took some time, but it turned out nice.  We've hired someone to replace the rest of the carpet, and we've painted most of the rooms and all the trim.  Andy and I are both tired and sore from the work, but I think it will look really nice when everything is finished.  

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

June 13th

FYI - Don't Read if you're squeamish!!

A few days after school was out this spring(June 13th), Alex had a terrible accident.  I was in the kitchen making bread, and all of a sudden I heard screaming, both boys. It was terrifying screaming, and I just knew it had to be something terrible. I took off running, actual running because I knew I had better run, and found both boys in the living room, blood everywhere. Alex was covered in blood. I have never seen or heard anything so terrible - and immediately tried to find where all the blood was coming from.  Alex put his hand threw the glass on our french door, and it cut his hand right across the wrist. I grabbed a towel and wrapped it around his arm and took off for the ER. We were probably out the door in less than a minute - it all happened so fast. Luckily I had shoes by the door, although I didn't even remember to close our front door on the way out.  It was the longest trip to the ER. I was hoping I'd made the right decision to drive him myself versus calling 911. I was so terrified he'd lost too much blood, but luckily I had Faye and Drew with me and they put pressure on his arm the entire way.  I just couldn't imagine sitting and waiting for an ambulance to arrive. 

The ER doctor saw him right away and told me he'd severed his ulnar artery. The bleeding had somewhat stopped, so they gave him some morphine and wrapped him up. We had to be transferred to Comer Children's Hospital for surgery.  The ER doctor checked his wrist before we were transported, and it started gushing again and he couldn't get the bleeding to stop. He eventually had to put a stitch in the artery, and told the EMT to tourniquet if any bleeding started(the doctor was somewhat freaked himself about sending a 4 year old with a severed artery 30 miles by ambulance). The ambulance ride again freaked me completely out - but at least this time I had someone with me - someone who could help if he did start bleeding again!

Everyone at Comer was wonderful, and Alex was in surgery by about 6:30pm(this happened around 11am). He was out of surgery at 8:30, and he was transferred to his room for the night about 10pm. He severed his ulnar nerve, ulnar artery, and a tendon. They were able to stitch everything back together. I never did ask how many stitches he had, but I counted 16(he's the first kid to have stitches, and hopefully the last).  He woke up for a few minutes and talked to me, but he'd had a pretty traumatic day, and was on a lot of morphine, so he slept until morning.  When he woke up at 5am he was hungry, so I let him choose what he wanted off the menu - he chose chocolate pudding!  He slept a little more and when he woke up for breakfast he had a doughnut.  I felt a little bad calling and asking for all this junk food, but I figured if he felt like eating he could eat whatever he wanted! He was pretty happy with the menu choices!

He had a splint custom made for his little arm, and we were sent home the next day. He's been doing amazing through all this, and we hope he'll have a full recovery!  The stitches are all healed now, and he got his splint off last week.  He has hand therapy every week because of the nerve damage, but with time it should heal.

Out of surgery
New splint
On our way home

Its been almost 8 weeks and this is the first I've been able to write about this - it was very traumatic for all of us.  Every time I hear a noise I worry, and every time I don't I worry.  I can't be with the kids every second of the day, so I'm thinking bubble wrap?  When something terrible like this happens it really makes you realize how quickly something can happen and change everything. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013


Velvet passed away two weeks ago. She was 13 years old and had terrible arthritis, so we're happy she's no longer in pain, but we miss her terribly. She was a huge part of our lives for so long, a member of our family really, so its really strange to come home and not see her waiting for us at the door. Andy got her for a present for my 21st birthday, and she was with us through it all - college, vacations, moving 3 times, kids. 

I've been looking through all my photo albums and found the puppy pictures.  We only have a few from those days - we were in college and didn't have a digital camera - did anyone in 2000? Velvet was so tiny when we got her, about the size of Andy's foot. She was pretty wild as a puppy. The neighbor kids called her "wild barky dog." It was a very fitting name!  

She sort of slowed down over the years, mostly in the last couple due to her arthritis.  Her very favorite thing(other than corn on the cob) was the snow - as soon as it snowed she wanted out to play. We had quite a bit of snow this past March, and even at 12 1/2 years old she wanted out to play in the snow.  She would come back inside completely covered head to toe in snow, even if it barely covered the ground. 

Velvet was a wonderful dog - we will miss her!