Sunday, August 31, 2008

My sweet boy.

So I wanted to do a post about my sweet boy. With Ellie starting first grade a week and a half ago, and Annie starting preschool this week, which you know I'll be posting about, I decided he needed his own post. An update, if you will, on him and what he's been up to lately. My idea blossomed into a mini photo shoot. I bought some of the cutest boy pj's known to man the other day at Target, and I decided that they'd make the perfect outfit for a post all about him. Here he is as we started...

I think he was protesting. NO SMILES FOR MOMMY!

Then he got thirsty, and when I asked him to smile for me, he gave me this...

Here he's looking like someone trying to hide from the paparazzi. The mom paparazzi.

And finally he made his way to the exercise room, and gave me this shot.

It's okay son, that's the way I want to use the Bowflex too.

So there he is, my sweet boy. I cannot express how he steals my heart daily. He's so busy and full of energy and life. He can destroy a room in 2 minutes flat. He has little impulse control. He speaks his own language, which I usually cannot decipher. He delights in yanking Annie's hair, or ransacking Ellie's room. He has quite the scream when he gets mad. But then he flashes me that smile, that all boy smile...

And I melt.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I could get used to this.

It's 2:35pm, and my house is very quiet.

I am blogging.

I am watching HGTV, and not a cartoon.

And I'm getting ready to eat a Dove chocolate.

This little piece of quiet has happened for 3 days in a row, every afternoon this week. Ellie's at school, Annie wants to watch a movie in her sisters room (and no, Ellie doesn't know she does that!) , and Austin takes a nap.

And let me just say, it's been delightful. Just Delightful!

Ahhh, this is why I love the start of school!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The picture is a little blurry...

In more ways than one.

Today Ellie started first grade!

I have a good feeling about this year. Maybe it's the knowledge that we made it through kindergarten without much angst. Maybe it's the "We've been here, done this" feeling that is helping. Or maybe it's the fact that one of my best friends son, one of Ellie's best friends, is in our class! I just have a good feeling.

It certainly didn't come from ALL THE INFORMATION I got from Ellie after I finally was able to pick her up today. (Remember the Loop?) This was our conversation as I drove away from the school.

Me: ELLIE! I missed you! How was your first day of first grade?!

Ellie: Good.

Me: What did you do?! What were your favorite things?!

Ellie: I don't know.

Me: Did you have fun with Richie?!

Ellie: Yeah.

Me: What else?!

Ellie: I don't know. It was boring.

Yeah...that was pretty much all I got. I gave up after an hour. No cute quotes from my sweet girl! It does seem like she had a good day though. I finally got a smile out of her when I asked her if she liked her teacher. She did, a lot. Ms. M seems to have already made a great impression on her! She did on me too, which adds into my overall feel good feeling about this year.

I almost missed the photo opps this morning, I had no idea my camera battery was dead! I was saved by Ellie's own camera she keeps stashed in her backpack. It's a little blurry, kind of like the details Ellie gave me about her day, nonetheless, it's a good pic of Ellie and Ms. M.

I can't wait to see what the year holds! Happy First Grade Ellie!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Annie's day(s).

My sweet Annie Grace is now four years old. Wow. I don't know why, but this one is hard for me to swallow. Maybe it's because five is next, and well, I don't think I can go there right now. She's looking so much older to me lately. Her body, her face, the way she holds herself. She's just so beautiful. She had three fantastic days of celebration in honor of her birthday...

August 15th. Her birthday! She and Ellie had spent the night with Grammie and Grandaddy, so Daddy, Austin and I joined them that afternoon for some fun at a ballgame in the big city! It was great weather, fun times, and a winning team! Here's Annie with Grammie...

Our favorite part of the night was the fireworks show at the end of the game. It was Awesome! Annie was quite excited to get fireworks for her birthday! :) Annie with "her" fireworks...

August 16th. Since we hadn't been with her for much of her actual birthday, we decided to celebrate as a family on Saturday. She picked Steak and Shake for lunch and Red Lobster for dinner. That girl knows how to eat! She opened her gifts from us that night too. Here's Annie with her favorite gift of the night, her new cash register! This picture shows her face so well, the face that's looking so grown up...

August 17th. Party day! We had some friends over for a seriously fun "Candy Store" party. Annie's favorite thing in the world is candy, and she wants to own a candy store someday, (isn't that just the most fun thing to want to do when you grow up?!) hence the theme for the party. Annie's Candies had it's grand opening right in our playroom!

Annie welcomed her customers and Ellie showed them the candy...

...then Annie checked them out at her new cash register! Oliva and Bailey helped her count every one's cute!

Unprompted, the kids all sat down to eat their candy, they were so cute!

She had a blast! And talk about your sugar rush! We also rented a cotton candy machine, which turned out to be really fun and quite the hit with kids and parents! Jason was the cotton candy master!

The family stayed for present opening time, and this year went MUCH better than last year! (When she got really upset with me because I made her open her presents!) This year Annie had a blast opening all her gifts! Here she is hugging her great-grandma Ellie...

She was SO thrilled with everything. When she was done opening gifts, she dressed up in a new dress up outfit and put on a show for us all!

One last picture. This girl steals my heart in so many ways. She is sweet, beautiful, kind spirited, easy going, graceful...and she wanted two cupcakes, one chocolate, one vanilla. Both of which she only ate the icing off of!

That's my Annie! Happy Birthday Sweetheart!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The rest of the story.

I suppose I should have Jason write this post. It would be really interesting to see how he tells the story. Oh well, I'm pretty sure I'm on my own here. :)

The day I left for Chicago, things were already a little off-kilter. My 8:00am flight had been canceled at midnight, and rescheduled for 1:20pm. So, I woke up early to call Jason's mom and let her know she didn't have to be here at the crack of dawn. At 7:30 the kids started waking up. None of them realized I was there when I wasn't supposed to be there. I thought that was kind of funny. My perfectly laid out plans flew out the window, as I started trying to manage my kids, my new plans, and trying to keep everything perfect and the way I wanted it to be when Nana came over. Finally Nana arrived, and I left. I had feared that the kids would be upset seeing me go. But they were fine. Nana was playing with them, and they barely noticed my goodbye kisses.

Our flight actually left about 4pm.

I called Jason when we arrived and were safely in my friends car. It was about 6 by then, and he already had some news...

You're son gave mom quite the time today. She didn't realize it, but when she laid him down for his nap, he climbed out of his bed. He played, by himself, in his room for about an hour. He emptied his drawers, pulled a bunch of stuff out of his closet, undressed himself completely, took off his diaper, and then climbed back in bed. That's how she found him. Naked in his bed, with disaster all around...

That was the first phone call of the night.

A bit later he called back.

Annie's hysterical. She says she needs to talk to you. She says you promised to tuck her in tonight. (I didn't.)

I talked to Annie, gave Jason some advice to calm her down, and then I talked to Ellie. Which made Ellie start to cry. When I called back an hour later, everyone was asleep, and Jason...well, he was ready for me to come home.

The next day I called to check in.

We had a crisis at work and I had to go in. Mom came back over. (poor Nana!) Now I'm home and my knee is hurting pretty badly. Oh, and Austin keeps climbing out of his bed and turning on his bedroom light. I don't know what to do...

The next day...

Austin and Annie took a pretty good fall. They were both hanging off the baby gate above the couch, I told them to stop, but I was trying to get the dishes done and didn't MAKE them. A minute later it fell. They both tumbled off the couch and hit the floor. They're okay, but it scared them.

The last day...

I heard a noise and knew Austin was into something. I ran into the kitchen and realized that what I heard was the swiffer mop, being sprayed. I realized that, about the time I was flying through the air, after slipping in the big puddle Austin had created. I landed on my back. It hurts a lot.

I was home just before midnight that night.

I think he was happy to see me.

But you know what? He made it. They made it. The house was pretty normal looking when I got home. The dishes were done. The laundry was clean. I know it wasn't easy on any of them, but they survived.

And they never want me to leave again.


I won't. For awhile. Trips like this aren't the norm for me. But I'm really glad I did it. It was good for me, and my mama.

And for Jason and the kids. The girls learned to rely on their daddy a little more, they learned that it doesn't always HAVE to be mommy.

Since I've been home I've heard a lot more of...

Daddy can you...
Daddy, I need your help...

And than has been really, really nice!

Monday, August 11, 2008

A new milestone!

She did it!

Ellie worked up the courage...

And she jumped!

She was quite proud of herself!

And I'm quite proud too! Love that smile!


Fabulous. Absolutely fabulous!

My mama and I had a great time in the windy city, which really wasn't too windy this time. Actually, we had PERFECT weather. Incredibly beautiful, non-humid weather.

We had a bit of a late start, due to storms the night before our flight, but we finally took off about 4pm. We were picked up at the airport by my sweet friend Rebecca. She drove us out to Schaumberg to shop at IKEA and a real, live and in person, Hanna Andersson store. I love Hanna clothes, especially for my very picky first born, and to actually GO TO THE STORE, as opposed to catalog/online shopping was really a treat.

Day two found us strolling the Magnificent Mile, and beyond. Then we walked to Navy Pier. Then we took a cab back because we couldn't feel our feet anymore! We swam at our rooftop pool, with the lights of Chicago all around us, and the fireworks of Navy Pier in the distance.

On day three we took a cab out to a different part of the city, with more shopping! We found a couple of cute boutiques where mom and I each bought a pair of shoes and a pair of earrings. We walked...and walked...and then we decided to attempt the "L" train! We got ourselves a couple of 24 hour passes, for a whopping $5 each! Then we hopped aboard and headed towards the theatre district!

There we found MORE great shopping, including the largest and most beautiful store I've ever seen! Macy's, formerly Marshall Fields on State street. It's a Chicago icon, and it's absolutely incredible! I did a little research and found out that it was built in 1852, and it's the second largest department store in the WORLD! Wow! Mom found a GREAT purse there! This is the view from the first floor looking up. I didn't even get the first few floors in the picture!

We also had us some delicious hot dogs that were so good they needed there very own picture!

That night we saw "Jersey Boys", which was just INCREDIBLE! If you ever have the chance to see it, you MUST! Our doorman at the hotel sent us to the show in style, in a very nice car, as opposed to a cab. Fun! After the show we ate yummy Italian food at a great place there in the theatre district, and headed back for some much needed down time!

At this point I just had to get a cute pic of all the cute shopping bags I'd accumulated!

On our last day there we took our time getting ready, and then headed back to Navy Pier for a lunch cruise on Lake Michigan. It was so relaxing to prop our tired feet up on the ships rail and just take in the shoreline.

After that we took a water taxi up the Chicago river to Michigan avenue and shopped a little more.

We took the "L" back to State street and shopped a little more. I guess we just hadn't shopped enough! We hopped on a bus (our 24 hour passes included buses too!) and went and got our luggage. Then we took the "L" to the airport. I am telling you, we figured out how to get around that city! That was so much fun! By the time we arrived at the airport we felt like seasoned Chicago travelers! I have to say, the "L" was awesome. As we flew by rush hour traffic on our way to the airport, we were SO happy we decided not to take a cab! The "L" saved us at least 40 minutes and about $50!

Our flight home was (almost) on time, and uneventful. I took a picture of the city we'd enjoyed so much as we flew away.

I arrived home just before midnight to kiss my sweet, sleeping babies and give my worn out hubby a big hug.

It was a fantastic trip. A MUST DO AGAIN, kind of trip. Although I'm not sure when...let's just say that Jason's time didn't go so smoothly. :) That's another post in itself. And yes, I will give you the details soon!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

I can't resist..

Apparently clothing is optional for toddler boys. Even at your cousin's birthday party! Poor Elaina. I hadn't noticed that he had removed his swim trunks and diaper until it was too late.


Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Grandpa's Tractor

The kids love Papa Kenny's tractor. Every time we visit them, they want to go for a ride. Apparently it never gets old. :)

Grandaddy and Annie!

Austin watching in awe.

Grammie and the girls having a bucket ride!

Monday, August 4, 2008

It's worth the 5am wake up call.

I will be getting up at 5am tomorrow.

And I am THRILLED about it!

4 days people! For 4 days I will be strolling the shops of Chicago with my beautiful mother!

We've booked ourselves a little "getaway" to celebrate her upcoming birthday. I've been to Chicago twice, and loved it both times. She's also been twice, but both were a long time ago, and both were for business. The last time I was there, two years ago, I kept thinking..."Mom would just love this!" There is so much great shopping, and my mother is the QUEEN of shopping. :)

SO, our flight leaves at 8:10 am tomorrow morning! For me this is a big deal.

I haven't flown in six years.

I haven't been away from my husband and children in three years.

I've never left Austin before.

Jason's never taken care of all three of them for more than part of a day before.

To say I'm nervous is a bit of an understatement. I am SO excited, but at the same time I am fearful for many things.

Will Jason be okay?

Will Austin be okay when it's daddy that comforts him in the middle of the night and not mommy?

Will I be able to keep up with my mother as we shop?

Okay, that last one is kind of a joke. Kind of.

But seriously, if you would add my sweet family to your prayers this week, that would be wonderful. My hope is that this little trip is a blessing to me and my mom, with some really good one on one time, and a blessing to Jason and the kids, with some really good daddy time. Oh, and Nana too, since she will have the kids all day Wednesday before Jason gets off work! Bless you Nana!

So off I go! I feel like this famous blogger, just traveling for fun and adventure! I can't tell you how many times, Miss Carissa, that I have thought of you as I've readied for this trip. I keep thinking...this is what Carissa would do! Did you know you were so inspiring? :)

I can't wait to post my "after". You can be assured it will include some fun pics of me and my awesome mom!


Saturday, August 2, 2008

This makes me happy.

This morning I woke up without a brain, and took all three of my kids shopping, outside, in triple digit heat.

Oh okay, I have a brain. I just really wanted to see if this pair of shoes I wanted was on sale before I take a little trip next week. (more on that at a later date!) My want for the shoes outweighed my un-want of taking three kids with me, so off we went.

After an hour of weeding our way down the sidewalks of our favorite shopping area, I found the shoes, they weren't on sale, I bought them anyway. It was worth full price not to drag us all back there again!

We were hot and sticky at 10AM, and I was ready to go home.

As we had walked, I noted that several stores were participating in a sidewalk sale. One particular store I like had a few tables set out, so we stopped to check them out. That's when I found this...

It's a beach towel.

A beautiful, makes me very happy, beach towel!

I realize to some it's just a towel, but to me, well I don't know, I just REALLY like it. It's big and soft and fluffy, and just NICE.

I had admired this beach towel a few other times, but at $34, I easily resisted. But today, well TODAY it was marked 1/2 off. A mere $17! I have never before spent $17 on a beach towel, but I did today.

And I don't regret it.

In fact this little "find" made the 3 hours of sweaty shopping worth the trip!

It's from the Vera Bradley "Seaside Collection."

I've admired this collection several times. A friend of mine has a bag in this print, and every time I see it, I love it.

Seaside Collection. Doesn't that just sound heavenly? I picture myself in an Adirondack chair on a beach in the Hamptons. Big sunglasses, wide brimmed hat, and MY beach towel. A cool drink and a great book by my side.

Or you know, hanging out in the sweltering sun at the city pool with splashing, screaming kids all around.