Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Garden Time!

Well it's that time of year again...time to plant the garden! Actually, it is a little later this year due to the incredibly rainy and cold spring we have had, but better late than never. The kids couldn't wait to help Dad get it started. Look at our hard workers!

Good digging Abbey!

Juliette getting to know the tools...

Ben is helping Daddy to turn the soil...

Then the next day we went to buy the plants after Church, but here is our littlest cutie pie in her Sunday finest...

This year we added a scarecrow to our garden that we got from our wonderful Aunt Theresa. We named him Jack in her honor.

Abbey helping Daddy to plant some veggies...

The finished product!

This year we planted tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and broccoli. I say "we" but really I have nothing to do with the process. This is Paul's project and the kids love to help him. I like to think I help out by finding various ways to cook all the amazing veggies we get out of the garden. I do love that, but I am not one to get in the dirt and get it going. And speaking of getting things going, I will take this opportunity to thank Paul for making this family very eco-friendly without really making me get involved. It all started with the garden several years ago. Two years ago he started a compost pile (which I really don't like, but he doesn't make me really do anything with it so I can't complain too much). Then we somehow ended up with a Prius hybrid car (thanks to Theresa for wanting to buy our car). And his latest thing is a rain barrel to collect rain and then use that water for gardening. All these things add up to being a family that is beyond eco-friendly...well done Paul!
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Happy Birthday Uncle Phil!

I am pretty behind on blogging, I know, so let me try to catch up. A few weekends ago we had Uncle Phil, Aunt Sandy, Joey and Jillian over for dinner. It has been a while since we had seen the whole family and the kids were super excited to have Joey and Jillian over. Ben made sure to have the train table set up since he knows how much Joey loves Thomas. While trying to decide what to make for desset, we realized that Uncle Phil's birthday was coming up and since we probably wouldn't see them again before then, we decided to make a chocolate chip cookie cake for him (since we know how much he likes choc chip cookies). It was a fun baking afternoon and here is Uncle Phil with the kids waiting for the cake!

The kids also wanted to make him a birthday crown.

Ben is a news reporter in the making apparently as he interviewed Uncle Phil with the video camera.

Then it was just time to play - Juliette and Jillian had a good time playing together...or next to each other anyway.

A very fun evening and we hope to do it again soon!
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Sunday, May 08, 2011

Aunt Theresa's Moving On...

Well, for those of you who don't know, our dear Aunt Theresa has decided to take on a new challenge. A few months ago, she quit her job at BP because she was largely unhappy there. She took a leap of faith, but is now setting off to follow her dreams and moving to Alaska. That's right, Alaska (remember, she works in the oil industry). So, this last month or so we have been trying to spend as much time with her as possible before she leaves. She leaves tomorrow, so yesterday we all got together at Aunt Domi's house for a last hurrah. We got all her favorite Chicago foods (deep dish pizza, Portillos, and Oberweis ice cream) and had a feast! Then it was some last minute play time and pictures with our favorite Aunt Teeesa (as Abbey calls her).

Juliette has a special fondness of Aunt Thereeeta (as she calls her). As soon as Theresa comes over, she only wants to be held by her.

As long as she has her Aunt Tereeeta, she is a happy girl!

All our kids love Aunt Theresa. She spends a lot of time with us and is pretty much like a second mommy to them (we often joke that she is like our au pair). She is Ben's Godmother and they are all going to miss her so much!

And Caroline loves her and is going to miss her a ton too - this is our usual bunch that we do stuff with during the week while the older kids are at school!

Again, Juju and Aunt Theresa...

Paul is so insanely proud of his little sister (by the way, don't they look alike in this picture?).

Sisters!!! Ok, so they technically are not my actual sisters, but I love them like sisters and I would imagine the relationship I have with them is the type of relationship I would have if I had a biological sister, so I often drop the "in-law" and just call them my sisters!

Of course Juju had to get in on another Aunt Theresa picture!

Theresa is my running partner, my daily google chat partner, my healthy eating check-in partner, an amazing aunt to my children, a Godmother to my first born child, my sister, and honestly my best friend. I have been so sad about this upcoming move, but I know it is what is best for her and a really exciting opportunity that she has always dreamed of. She comes over every weekend and we run for hours (literally) together while discussing every thing that is going on in our lives or in the world around us. It is going to be intently obvious when she is gone because she is such a big part of our lives. But we can't wait to hear all about her adventures (see her blog link to the right) and we hope to see her as often as possible. Some day we will get up there to visit, but in the mean time, we have skype and of course the phone and we hope she comes back often to visit. We love you and will miss you Theresa!!
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Happy Mother's Day!

Well, I certainly had a wonderful Mother's Day! It started with sleeping in (always a great way to start the day - thank you Paul for getting up with the kids) and then a delicious spinach, onion and goat cheese omelet (thanks Paul). I got some beautiful cards and then it was time to head to Church. After Church, we were off to Home Depot for our Mother's Day tradition. The kids pick out all kinds of flowers to plant around the yard and spend all day with Daddy planting them (I don't like doing it, but I love the results). Luckily, it was beautiful out today and we got to enjoy the whole day soaking up the sun and warm temps. I made a quick lunch and we spread out a blanket to have a picnic on the grass - it was fantastic! Here are the 3 amazing children that allowed me to become a Mommy in the first place - love them!

Juju gets down to give Daddy some planting advice...

Abbey gets her garderning gloves on...

The girls got a little bored, so we got out some toys to play with. Juliette enjoyed pushing Abbey around in the car.

Uh oh, traffic jam!

Every car needs a watering can included...

Ben was diligent about helping Daddy get all the flowers planted. He worked hard and actually fell asleep during his rest time today!

They turned out beautiful and with the rain we are supposed to get this week, I can't wait to watch them grow! Thank you Paul for a great day!

And I would like to wish a very Happy Mother's Day to my amazing mother who has taught me so much about being a parent, my amazing mother-in-law, who has also taught me a lot, my wonderful grandmothers Nana and Mimi, who were outstanding mothers in raising my mom and dad, and Paul's wonderful grandmothers Gandy and Grandma Sam (in Heaven) who raised his wonderful mom and dad as well. Examples of love for children and good parenting has passed down the generations and each of you have made Paul and me the parents we are and the parents we continually strive to be. We love you all!
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Saturday, May 07, 2011

Zoo in Aurora

On Tuesday we went down to Aunt Domi's house and went to the free zoo in Aurora. It was very nice and had a lot to see, but wasn't too big either, which was perfect for a nice morning activity. Peekaboo - I see a little JuJu!

Caroline was great at showing us around the zoo!

The tulips all around were gorgeous - I love tulips so the kids kept pointing them out to me!

Following the leader, the leader, the leader...

Happy girl!

Arms out, balancing perfectly on the balance beam!

They had several peacocks that actually opened up all their tail feathers several times while we were there. I had never seen it before and it was pretty amazing. A man taking pictures of them (there were 2 close to us) told us that the female had just come out of the building (in the background below) and the two males were trying to impress her. It was pretty cool to see, but they are very loud animals too!

Kiddos with Aunt Theresa by the tulips!

Juju really loves her Aunt Thereeeta!

Then we had a picnic lunch!

Then the weather was starting to get cold and it was time to go, but we had a lot of fun and hope to go again sometime!

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Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Weekend Fun

Well we had not much going on this past weekend other than our usual activities, so I thought I would share what those are. Actually, we did start the weekend with something unusual...the Royal Wedding! In order to celebrate a real life prince and princess getting married, we made our own crowns! Here is the Royal Prince of our house...

Our youngest princess...

The royal children! I actually recorded the wedding and watched it with the girls while Ben was in school. Abbey enjoyed watching the princess walk down the aisle and then seeing the prince, but then declared the whole thing boring! She became interested again when they got into their horse-drawn carriage though. I enjoyed watching it anyway! The next day she saw a picture from our wedding and told me that I looked like a princess - what a sweetie!

Now on to our usual weekend activities...Abbey has been taking gymnastics on Saturday mornings, which she loves!

It is basically an open gym that I go to with her, but when she turns 3 she will get to go to the class without parent involvement and actually learn stuff, so that will be fun!

After gymnastics we had some time to kill before our next activity, so we stopped at a park to play for a bit. Abbey and I enjoyed these funny chair swings.

Awww, sweet sisters!

Good climbing Ben Ben!

Now Abbey's turn...

Time for a quick snack and then we have to go to...

Ben's soccer game!

Yeah, Ben loves soccer - he gives it a big thumbs up! And he scored a goal in his first game (although they don't keep score).

Luckily, Aunt Theresa was there to cheer on Ben and help move Juliette to the right field.

That is our typical Saturday for right now. Luckily, all of this activity ends before lunch and the kids are usually pretty tired from such an active morning that they take good naps too!
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