Thursday, December 12, 2013

What's Up? (Picture Edition)

What have we been up to?

A little Christmas decorating.  (That's a police car driving through the Christmas village...the village and trees get rearranged on a daily basis.)

Some members of the family aren't very helpful at decorating.

Speaking of helpful, this man cooks AND cleans.

Which is a good thing, because he has been so clingy that I stuck him in the baby carrier one afternoon just to try to get some things done.  Unfortunately- or maybe fortunately, since he's really too old for that- he hated it screamed to get out immediately.

We put up a pretty tree.  (As pretty as it can be with all of the ornaments on the top 1/3 of the tree.)

And I've been trying to get some cute pictures.  That part isn't going so well.

Aside from that, we're doing some hot cocoa-drinking, which is really just an excuse to eat marshmallows,

some wrestling,

and some book-reading.

How cute is that last one?!

Hope you are having a great holiday season!!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

4 Years: 3 Parties

Birthday Party #1- (7 days before the big day):  This party was at Aunt Rachael and Uncle Garett's house with our Southern IL family.  After dinner, Jacob got a birthday-boy ribbon and a cell phone cake.

How cool is this?!

I think Jacob was pretty happy, to say the least.

After dinner came the presents!  Jenna and Brett helped him unwrap and kept him focused.

(A photobomb by my hunka-hunka burnin' love, who hadn't put his shirt back on after dinner..)

To top it off, Jacob got to have a slumber party on the couch that night with Brett.  He liked being a "big boy," and went to sleep grinning from ear to ear.

Birthday Party #2- (2 days before the big day)  Party #2 was at preschool!  This was my first experience bringing in treats, but due to the class being both nut-free and egg-free, I couldn't find anything to fit the bill. I ended up with organic fruit snacks, which I wasn't all that excited about, but Jacob didn't seem to care.  I also had to fill out a sheet with his likes, etc, because the teachers spotlight him on his special day.  He got a little crown to wear, which might have been the highlight of the whole experience for him!  Much to my surprise, his teachers also sent him home with a wrapped gift.

Birthday Part #3- December 7- His actual birthday! We've always tried to make the whole day special, so he got his present, a little Cadillac car that plays music, as soon as he woke up.

He also opened the gift from his teachers, a Pete the Cat book.  He liked it, despite what his expression conveys here!

We went to Krispy Kreme for snack, and Frank was going to take him to a movie, but Jacob ended up napping too late.  Normally, we would have woke him up, but he needed the nap.  Trust me.

For dinner, he said he wanted Taco Bell.  We managed to upgrade that slightly to Moe's, so the birthday boy still got his cheese quesadilla.  It made me laugh to think about what his dinner request may be in ten years, and whether he would ever believe his favorite dinner was a cheese quesedilla.

We kept the evening simple and went home for cake. His only request was that he wanted to put the sprinkles on the icing by himself.  This resulted in a handful of sprinkles being dumped very unevenly over the cake, so amazing-looking cell phone cake it definitely was NOT!  But look at that shiny little face with those 4 candles...

Happy 4th Birthday Jacob!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


  • What a wild storm on Sunday!  Bad weather doesn't really bother me, but there were a few minutes, sitting in the basement under the stairs, where I wondered if this one was going to be a game-changer. Fortunately, the only damage we had was to our basketball goal.  Now, how do you fix that?!

  • One of Carter's favorite snacks is apples.  He takes an apple wedge and then kind of teethes on it, spitting out little pieces.  It's the wierdest thing, but it can keep him busy for a long time.  

      • On Friday evening, I went to a girls-only wine and appetizer party at our neighbor's house.  Before I was invited, I had also signed up to make dinner that evening for a lady in my mom's group-- who is also a neighbor--who just had a baby.  The party required we make an appetizer that paired with our wine.  So by 7:00, when I left for my party, I had made an appetizer and made dinner twice.  I told Frank I was sure I'd be home by 10 because all I wanted to do was get into my pjs.  (Here is where I need to say that the clock on my phone has been a hour slow since the time change.  No matter what I did, it wouldn't set to the correct time, so I just got used to it being an hour ahead.)  Well, the party was a ton of fun, and I caught my second wind.  When I checked my phone, the clock said 10:40, so I'm thinking it's 9:40.  As I walked in the door, Frank said, "I told you that you'd be out past 10."  Apparently, the clock on my phone had finally reset itself to the correct time, and it actually was 10:40!  Oooops.
      • I cleaned out the toybox last week, and threw out everything that was broken.  Which, for us, is a lot.  Then I took another full sack down to the basement.  And you know what?  I don't think either one of them noticed!  Jacob still has 487,238 cars, so he's fine, and Carter still has Rubbermaid containers so he's fine, too.  I had to take a picture of them one afternoon:  pillows on the floor, coasters in the windows, bowls dumped over, and potholders scattered around.  Nice game, guys.

      • Our friend Wile E Coyote came to visit yesterday!  

      Monday, November 4, 2013

      Fall Festival Weekend

      Last weekend, we went to Frank's hometown for Fall Festival.  Fall Festival is easily one of my favorite times of the year-- football games, colorful leaves, and parades-- it's magical.

      Frank took a half day off on Friday, and we made it there in time for a Bearcats football game.  The kids and I didn't last long, though, since Carter was cold and Jacob was anti-social that evening.  I snapped a quick picture of Gary, Frank, Jacob and Carter before we headed home.

      Saturday morning was the kiddie parade and costume judging.  If you know me, you know I'm not really competitive... but maybe I am when it comes to my kids.  I want them to WIN that darn thing!

      I felt like their costumes really represented their personalities.  Jacob was a phone and Carter was a frog prince/Prince Charming.

      Historically, Jacob has had tantrums of epic proportion during the parade and judging, but I'm happy to report that this year, he behaved well.  Unfortunately, Carter decided to carry on Jacob's tradition.  We marched down the main street with Carter yelling at the top of his lungs and throwing himself from side to side in my arms.  By the time we reached the judges' station,  he was even angrier, and I was sweating. We seriously debated leaving before judging.  The next half an hour spiraled downward, if possible, with the only redeeming point being Carter taking Second Place for his age/category.  After he placed, I was glad we toughed it out and stayed for judging.  To me, the kiddie parade and costume judging is a lot like the amnesia you have with childbirth.  It's such an ordeal, but every year we keep coming back, somehow only remembering the good parts.

      How could one little frog possibly make so much trouble?

      The big parade was that evening, and we had absolutely spectacular weather!  The highlight of the parade was watching for Anna, who received the Business of the Year Award.  As she will be retiring in the next year, it was a fitting way to be honored at her "last" parade. 

       (I starred over the last name for privacy.)

      There were fire trucks, marching bands, and some pretty cool floats.

      Oh, and CANDY!

      We love Fall Festival weekend and had a great time, naughty little frog notwithstanding.  :)

      Monday, October 21, 2013

      Movie Night...Much Better in Theory

      Last Friday night was our first really chilly night of the season, and what could be better on a chilly Friday night than movie night?

      Except for the fact that we have a 3 year old and a 1 year old, who have the combined attention span of a fruit fly, so this was a much better idea in theory than in reality.  

      We started off with high hopes.  Toy Story was rented from the library; pillows and blankets were piled on the floor; and popcorn was in the microwave.

      The popcorn was definitely the highlight of the evening, and once it was gone, their interest in the movie completely disappeared.

      We discovered that Carter loves popcorn!  I have NO idea how he eats it (choking hazard, anyone?), but he probably ate more popcorn than any of us!

      (Notice he is getting everyone to give him popcorn?)

      Pretty soon, we (well, Carter) had finished the bowl, and Jacob and Carter started to fight.  We whisked Carter up to bed, but I still held on to the fantasy that it would be a treat for Jacob to stay up late and cuddle with us.




      He bounced off the walls... and the furniture... and since he had no interest in the movie, Frank switched over to the Cardinals game.  I don't even think Jacob noticed.  By around 9, one whole hour after his normal bedtime, we called it quits.

      After picking up all the pillows, shaking the popcorn crumbs out of the blankets, and putting the coffee table back in place, we realized that maybe movie night was one idea that was still better in theory!

      Monday, October 14, 2013

      In Stitches

      The kids have suddenly gotten really funny, like little unintentional comedians.  Frank's aunt commented that they must keep us all in stitches, and honestly, in between cleaning crumbs off things, stepping on Matchbox cars, and fixing things they've broken,  I really am laughing at a lot of the things they say and do.

      Here are some snippets...

      Jacob told me he needed to go to "Barker's."  When I questioned him,, he said, "You know, the 'dealershipt.' They have a Cadillac for me!" Barkers really is our Cadillac dealership (or "dealershipt" as he says), but how he knew that is beyond me.

      Carter, who has always been a good eater, is now starting to talk.  One of his favorite words?  "'Nack!" (snack).  It's so funny to watch him cruise into the kitchen  yelling, "'Nack!  'Nack! Nack!"

      (On the hunt for a 'nack)

      On Jacob's Christmas list:  a soda stream machine, a turtle, an Escalade, and a magic wand.

      I had a girls' night last Friday and got home after the kids went to bed.  The next morning, I heard Jacob talking in his room, so I went to tell him it was okay to get out of bed.  As I peeked in his room, he looked at me, horrified, and asked, "Did you just get home?!"

      We had been talking about corn, and how corn grows on a cornstalk in the field.  Now he asks things like, "Where does soup grow?  What about biscuits?  Do they come from a tree?  Where would a cookie grow? Do cookies grow in the field, too?"
      Carter hates getting dropped off in the church nursery.  He's made it through an entire service exactly twice. Our church assigns each a number to each family, and if you see your number come up on their pager system, it means to come get your kid.  Jacob and Carter are both 2979.  Last Sunday, 3979 flashed over the system.  Frank and I looked at each other.  "Should we check it out?"  Sure enough, it was Carter.  I am oddly proud that we know our kid well enough to know that he was probably being naughty even though we didn't actually get paged.

      Speaking of church, Jacob was the only kid in his Sunday School class to come home wearing construction-paper sheep ears.  The only one.  I have no words.

      Wednesday, October 9, 2013

      Field Trips!

      We have had a busy few days of field trips!

      On Sunday, Jacob's preschool had a family fun day at Sugar Grove Nature Center.  A cold front had come through the night before, and although it felt like fall, 55 degrees with clouds and wind also felt coooold!  The kids and parents were free to explore the grounds, which is kind of set up like an outdoor adventure/obstacle course.

       Did someone say, "Explore?!"

      Jacob was off and running.  Tree forts, a tee-pee made of sticks, and a swing made from tires all captivated him, as did crossing a dry creek bed and moving rocks from one place to the other.  It was boy-heaven!

      One of the coolest activities was a zip line!  Frank zoomed him back and forth between the trees, and Jacob loved it.

      I managed to get one picture of him and his new little friend K.

      Our other little friend Carter did not want to be there AT ALL.  Normally this kind of thing is right up his alley, too, so I'm not sure why he was such a grouch.  After dealing with his fussiness for an hour and a half, we roasted some s'mores and called it a day.

      Then on Tuesday, the preschool class had a field trip to Rader Farms, which is a pumpkin farm with all kinds of ag-themed activities for kids.  I wanted to chaperon, but I did not want to bring Carter the Grouch, especially after his performance on Sunday.  Since our sitter was taking a midterm that day, my parents agreed to watch Carter.

      There were several other chaperons.  Actually, I think all the moms came with the exception of 2 or 3.  I was so curious to see how he interacted with everyone!  It was cute to watch all the kids line up in their school t-shirts... it made him seem so grown-up!

      We took a hayride out to the pumpkin patch, and the kids got to choose their own pumpkin.

      They also looked at some animals, which the class wasn't super-thrilled about.  ("They smell!"  "They'll poop on me!"  "Get it away!")

      And finally it was time for free play.  The giant jumping pillow below is always a hit!

      (Jacob is in the middle in this picture.  His buddy K is on the right, and the little girl in front is his good friend E.)

      He got to drive a "caterpillar" tractor (below) pulled by a lawn tractor, climbed in a huge spider web, and jumped off hay bales.

      After a quick snack, we were ready to go.

      I'm so glad I was able to go with him on his first real field trip!