Springtime highlight!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016
Among the household projects (window guys currently at my home making it possible to actually see out of our windows again), pollen allergies , baseball season startup, and school year crunch time, spring brings a birthday in this household.  This year, he has 8 years under his belt.

Cole has become such a firecracker.  His small, compact build makes possible speed and agility that comes easily.  He can hold his own among those older (along with a new-found temper shining through when the situation calls for it) and has become quite the athlete.  In fact, recess football games are a mainstay for him and his friends.  So, this year we decided he could have the biggest birthday party he'll probably have at a local training center to play football with an ex-Chicago Bears football player. 

We invited 13 boys and guess what?  They all could make it! ;) It was a high-energy hour of constant football action followed by Jimmy John's sandwiches (Cole's favorite) and cupcakes.  Definitely a celebration that perfectly represented our new 8 year old.

 The following evening we had a family gathering to celebrate!  Thankful for the beautiful weather that allowed us to be outside and led to a neighborhood "scary" game that had Olivia right in the middle!
Kylo Ren.  This plus new Nerf guns.  You can imagine.

Cole and baby Jacob

Wearing 3 layers; Cubs tshirt, Manning jersey, Schwarber jersey.  This is SO Cole.
I'm so thankful for this kid.  Sure, he talks a lot, wears more accessories than I do, and his organizational strategies are "unconventional," but he is ALWAYS on top of things, helps me when I'm looking like I need it, and will always choose to do something together versus alone.  Happy birthday, Cole Everett!


Wednesday, March 30, 2016
All caps and explanation mark...that's how we were looking forward to spring break this year.  And it was the beachy, shell-finding, good eating, warm weather,  quality family time break we were hoping for.

I feel like I, thankfully, live a life in which I enjoy most days.  Therefore, I'm not in a position to be counting down to vacation in a dramatic fashion.  However, a break from the daily grind is good for the soul, no doubt.  Add a cool drink in the hot sun with your toes in the sand...and, yes.

We made sure to prepare the kids for a NOT Disney Florida vacation, lest they picture themselves seeing famous characters, riding thrilling rides, or watching a jaw-dropping fireworks display.  And you know what?  They didn't seem to care.  They rolled right into sea-life watching, beach sport playing, restaurant rating spring breakers.  It. Was. Great.

For some perspective, our last beach vacation was in 2010.  It involved checking car seat boosters and strollers, using diaper bags as carry ons, and sippy cups:

And here we are this year:

Time is crazy. 

Here are some more pictures of our time!
Swimming with wild dolphins and seeing so much sea life!

Walkway ends at the beach!


Will.  Contemplating life.

A dinner-in night

Crazy coincidence that my girlfriends are within a couple hours away!  Worth an afternoon trip to spend some beach time together!

Mussels.  She ate this way the whole time. To quote one server we had, she "killed it" eating the seafood she ordered.
Cole: the beach sport pro.  He bought this one with his vacation money...paddle ball.

Pier at Times Square

Not Bored

Friday, March 4, 2016
I would like to take a moment to record how, at this phase of raising kids, I'm still not bored.  Keeping busy is important to me.  I'm not a good "sitter" until evening rolls around and I have a great list of things I've accomplished for the day.  One might suggest that with 3 kids out of the house for 6 hours of the day, there might be some thumb-twiddling time.  Not so.  Let me detail all the different hats I wore yesterday alone:
  • Plumber: switching out the built-in soap dispenser in the kitchen sink
  • Launderer: because...everyday
  • Athlete: daily workout
  • Dog walker/feeder: times two since we are watching my mother-in-law's dog
  • Maid: all bedding washed and beds vacuumed and cleaned (motivation thanks to article I read regarding dust mites and other nasty things)
  • Teacher's Aid: lunch duty, 3rd and 5th grade...organized chaos
  • Food procurer: food for a week in the fridge
  • English tutor: help with a 5th grade essay / Powerpoint
  • Junior High counselor: because 7th grade girls
  • Chef: not gourmet, but dinner nonetheless
  • Mom: bedtime reading and snuggles
  • Wife: DVR date!
And I love it!  I love being busy and especially busy doing so many different things.  Variety is so satisfying.  Of course, there ARE some not-so-satisfying moments.  Like when Cole comes home and announces that the snack I packed him tasted like dog food smells.  nice.

Here's a look at some things we've been up to...
I love how excited they get for our little jaunts to the bus stop!

This.  It looks like three lockers for my kids, but really, it's heaven.

Discovering toys not played in a while!

Boys earned a couple free tickets to the Chicago Wolves game!

Lots of entertainment!

What You've Missed

Tuesday, February 16, 2016
The events of the last four weeks are as follows:
  • Sickness
  • Sickness
  • Home renovations
  • Sickness
  • Cold and snow
Truthfully, we're on the brink of some incredibly mild weather for February and we finally got to go sledding, so I'm not actually complaining.  I am complaining about the sickness, though.  This time taking Paige down keeping her home 2 days from school...something she hasn't had to do in ages.

The dreaded new flooring task is over and we are so happy with it!  Our house was a dusty mess, but in retrospect, it was a small price to pay for enjoying our house so much more. Here is a before and after pic:
If feels like a new lease on life for the house!
Before this, we enjoyed a gift from my parents to the grandkids as a group - dinner at Medieval Times!  This is a fun evening and great entertainment especially during the winter months!
The Red and Yellow Knight!


Also, Rich and I got to go to a (my first) Blackhawks game!  It was awesome especially with the big win!
He's my favorite.

Also my favorite.
We had a visit from my cousin Chris and his cute kids....

As mentioned, we finally were able to put our sleds to good use...
My 3 plus neighbor...on hill just behind our house.  It has a bump halfway down that the kids have named "big momma."

Paige, post "big momma."  Just kidding, she's fine.

Lastly, we enjoyed a Broncos Superbowl win at the Eggers annual party!

Now we have our sights set on Spring Break!  Let the countdown to sand begin!

Let me tell you a little something...

Tuesday, January 19, 2016
...about when a stomach bug starts making the rounds in a family's house.  Turns out I wasn't immune to what Will had, which was a double dose of a cold and stomach virus.  I got the stomach one.  Thankfully, Rich stepped in and kept things civil and the kids are quite self-sufficient these days.  I was thankful there was nothing pressing on the agenda for that 48-hour period.  When this happens (and I have cross-referenced with others on this), you quickly ditch the natural remedies and "feel good" products and go straight to the heavy-hitters.  Bleach was my friend and no washable surface was safe.  Sorry, Earth. Thankfully, the spread stopped with the two of us.

Now, winter progresses with the boys doing a baseball camp at the High School on a couple Saturdays this month, Paige doing a tumbling class in hopes to get a back handspring, and Will doing a speed and agility class.  We are looking into re-doing our flooring (a warning that I will be in ill mental health during this time) and are awaiting a reprieve from the sub-zero temps.

In thinking about making it through the winter, I got to reminiscing about how winters used to be.  Entertaining toddlers in the brutal days of winter were so different.  Some days were stay-in-all-day days, some times I'd LOVE to find activities to pass the time (library visits, jumping classes, hanging out at the mall).  So, in honor of these memories, here are some pictures.  Call it, "turn back time Tuesday."
Science museum!  A whole day of entertainment and guaranteed naps later!

Hang out days...that sometimes end in falling asleep on the couch. (Will)

Hey, no snow on the driveway!  Good enough for bikes!

Two words: cardboard boxes.

Snow play...in the age when the time it takes to get them bundled is longer than actual time outside.

Happy 2016!

Sunday, January 3, 2016
Tomorrow I will likely shower before noon.  We probably won't think of a reason to have a glass of wine in the evening.  I will have a written-down to-do list and I packed lunches tonight.  The holidays are officially over.

Will is likely giving himself an extension to Christmas break as he has been in bed much of the day with a sore throat, headache and low-grade fever.  My to-do list will still get done because things could get worse...I could get this virus going around and if that occurs, I must be prepared.

Thankfully, we made it through the holidays in great health and enjoying every second of family gatherings, Paige turning 13, the new year, and plenty of quiet family time.  Okay, sometimes it's loud.  Let's just call it family time.  Here are some pictures, starting with Paige's birthday gift which was taking a friend to the Jingle Bash concert.  It was a BLAST that I probably enjoyed too much as a grown woman.

 We gave her a traditional family party closer to her birthday.  She kept busy with pet sitting and babysitting over break - a sure sign she is getting older.
I love love that Olivia is in every one of my birthday pictures of Paige! :)

We had our first cousin sleepover with Olivia part of the gang at the Fox's house.  We decorated Christmas cookies and watched Christmas movies like Elf and Frozen Fever.  Olivia bailed for her own bed at bedtime (I mean, I can't blame her...beds are better), but it was a fun way to kick off break.
Let's just say the cookies weren't professional-worthy.  Sweet...yes.

Sleeping bags!

First you spread the frosting on...then you scrape it off and lick it.

Our Christmas celebrations were wonderful on both sides of the family, but...hello...never really took a good group shot at either celebration!  Enjoy these general Christmas photos of present opening and a family pic with our new selfie stick!

Christmas morning


Fashion! (PS: Cole did NOT wear an Oswego jersey on Christmas.  He brought it.  To put on after everyone saw him wearing something nice.  Which totally doesn't count.)

New Year's Eve was our traditional gathering here with a friendly competition throughout the evening to pass the time until midnight....
Candy Cane transfer round.  This pro did 3 at a time!

Our very own ball-drop!  Kids work on this every year and it is so great!

Selfie station! --With cousin Tim

Family pic
With Eggers cousins

I didn't think to take pictures of us lounging around in PJs watching movies...but that's how we spent much of break.  I did take pictures of an outing to an arcade/mini golf and a winter hike.  No sledding this break, as the weather was rainy or ice stormy.
Racing games

Shooting games :(

We got lost.  No joke.  Had to make an unscheduled lunch stop when we found our way  back because  by that time, everyone was STARVING!

Here's to a healthy and happy 2016!