Friday, March 23, 2012

Juju's 2 1/2 years old!

So this is a little late, but Juliette turned 2.5 in February and she went in for her wellness check-up. She was 33 3/4 inches tall and 28 1/4 lbs. That put her in the 10th percentile for height and 45% for weight! She is a tiny little thing with a big belly, which at her age is still very cute (not so cute at my age though).

Juliette has been potty trained since a few weeks before Christmas and she is quite proud of it. Her gymnastics teacher was asking me if she was young or just a little one. She quickly informed him that she was in fact a big girl and that she wore big girl underwear too! She also likes pointing out that everyone in our family is potty trained and yesterday, when I was talking about a babysitter coming to stay with the kids, she informed me that we did not have any babies in our family (at which point Ben decided to call her the "kidsitter").

She is quite independent and quite different than Abbey at that age. Juliette likes to go off and play by herself. Abbey likes to play with Ben or Juliette, but rarely plays by herself. Juliette will easily just go play whatever it is that she wants to play at that moment, not minding at all if nobody else wants to play that with her at that moment. She also is not very shy and will go up to anybody and talk to them, so we have some stranger danger talks that need to happen coming up! She likes to be held though and is definitely the baby of our family.

Juliette still naps really well, although we have not switched her to a big girl bed yet. We will likely be getting the girls bunk beds soon though so we'll see how that goes.

She loves breakfast - her favorite meal of the day and pretty much the only meal she always finishes. She is getting very good at eating her veggies though as she has come to understand that dessert only comes if she eats her dinner well. I love listening to her talk and tell us about things. She fully participates in family discussions at dinner now, which is really fun.

We call her Juju about as often as we call her Juliette and I noticed in the past few dance and gymnastics classes that when asked her name, she responds with Juju! So we'll see what happens next year when she goes to preschool! She is still our little Julie Bean and we love watching her grow!

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Spring has Sprung!

We finally had the Kurby's over to meet Belle! But first, Joey and Juliette played trains together. Juliette is very into trains right now, especially Thomas. Good thing we have all that stuff from Ben - I'm glad it is being played with again!

Belle immediately took to Sandy and Phil...just like Chien always did!

The weather has been amazing lately. It got up into the 60's, then 70's, and then 80's! I think we hit a high of 86 one day, which was a Chicago record for March! So we have been taking full advantage and getting outside. We decided to take Belle to the park and practice her game of fetch.

She's got it!

Then she ran agility drills! She looked like a show dog the way she was jumping through the play ground equipment!

And she ran around with her best friend Ben.

Then it was time for the swings!

While Belle took a little break from the action.

Everyone on the swings!

Abbey on the slide!

Wheeeee - that was fun!!

Just a cute shot of Belle...

Abbey is ready for her big girl bike, which she will get for her birthday this summer!

And check out this sidewalk chalk drawing! It is actually a map that the kids drew to find a treasure!
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Catch Up

I know, I know...I am so behind in blogging! It's hard to even really figure out where to start. But, I had a ton of pictures on my phone of various things so I decided to finally download them to the computer and start there. Sorry if this post is a little random, but the pictures will give some sort of idea as to what we have been up to lately - and by lately, I mean the past few months that I have been inconsistently blogging!

I think I have posted before, but Abbey is in dance class and loving it. She got this new leotard for Christmas from Madgie and Patch and it has quickly become her favorite. She looks so pretty in it! She has her first dance recital in May, so stay tuned for that!

We are ready for summer here! The weather has been fantastic lately, but still not quite pool weather. Juliette, though, is super excited to get swimming again!

I may have mentioned this previously (I can't remember), but Ben wanted to go to Benihana for his birthday. Here is the master chef!

Belle has been doing great! She is house broken now and will actually go sit by the door and bark when she needs to go out. This is a huge improvement over Chien, who would just come up and silently stare at you if he was desperate to go out. As I am sure you can imagine, when one is caring for 3 small children this subtle sign was sometimes overlooked! I always wished he had been a bit more vocal about it, so I am glad that Belle makes it known. But she is doing great. I have never seen a dog do this, but Belle sleeps on her back - it's so funny!

Belle came with us to drop the kids off at school one day, so here she is with Abbey in the car!

Ah, my beautiful dancers! Juliette just started taking dance class and she loves it. Juliette is the one person in this family that can really get down and move her hips - it's hilarious to watch! She almost does deep knee bends and then moves her hips from side to side. That isn't taught in dance class yet, but she will be a pro when they get to that!

A few weeks ago we went down to Caroline's house and all went to see The Lorax in 3D. For those of you who do not know, The Lorax is our favorite Dr. Seuss book and it is an environmental story about the effects of chopping down trees to grow a business. It was Dr. Suess's favorite book and it is ours too. So we were a little worried about the movie, but were pleasantly surprised at how great it was! My only complaint was that I wish they had used more lines from the book. The paraphrased a lot of stuff to get the points across, and there really was no need to do that since Dr. Seuss wrote it so perfectly! But, it was great. Here are the kids with their glasses ready for the 3D movie!

Juju wasn't quite sure how to wear her glasses though...

Ben looks like quite the cool guy in his glasses and track suit!

After the movie it was back to the Acuff's house where Belle got to meet her cousin Cooper! Cooper was Chien's brother (literally), so it was really fun for us to watch the two play together. Cooper was very sweet with Belle and they had a great time together. I was really sad that we did not have our nice camera to catch the action, but here are a few shots taken from my phone.


They were seriously so cute together!

Here is Juju at her first dance class. She enjoys the class a lot, but I think her favorite part right now is wearing the dancing clothes!

She already knows how to work the bar!

And one day I came downstairs to find Juliette "sharing" her snack with Belle!

Last weekend I went to a conference called Hearts At Home with my church mom's group. It is basically a Christian conference of mothers where there are key note speakers and then a variety of talks you can sign up to take (for example, I took a class called Confessions of an Imperfect Mother and another one called Top 10 Messages You Want You Kids to Receive). It was my first time going, but it won't be my last. It was fantastic. The speakers were amazing and I learned so much. It was refreshing and just moving to be there with so many other women who were trying to grow in their own faith and become better mothers/wives/Christians. I would highly recommend it to any mother. I can give you the website and more info if you might be interested in it for next year. It takes place at Illinois State University, which is about 2 hours from us. Just to give you an idea of the conference, there were 6,200 women there from 33 states with the number of children impacted from the women there of 14,000. This year one of the key note speakers was Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar (you may have heard of them...they have 19 kids and counting)! Here is a quick pic I snapped of them while they were signing autographs. The key note speaker for next year is Candace Cameron. I can't emphasize enough what a great experience it was for me and I already can't wait for next year's conference!

Another thing I did recently was go to the Ladies Night Out fundraiser at the kids' school. It was trivia and I sat with a bunch of the other kindergarten parents from Ben's class and also met some of the kindergarten parents of the other two classes. It was a ton of fun and our table came in 3rd (out of about 50 tables). They also had a huge raffle and this is what I is a big basket of arts and craft supplies! It said it was a $65 value and the kids have been having so much fun with it.

We started a family tradition about a year ago where every Friday night (assuming we don't have anything else going on AND assuming the children have been well behaved all week) we have a family movie night. It is the only time in the week that the kids get to watch a movie, so they get pretty excited about it. First, everyone has to have their room clean and the play room picked up. Then we alternate whose turn it is to choose the movie. We start the movie around 5, pause it for dinner, get in our PJ's, pop some popcorn and watch the rest of the movie. It's a great tradition!

I think I mentioned previously that Ben has learned to read. It is such an amazing experience to watch a child learn to read and to really start to pick it up. He reads everything now - he will point out signs to us, read food labels, and it warms me heart to come downstairs to see this...

Whew! Well that is some catching up, but I still have more to do!
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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Missing Josh

It's so hard to believe it's been 3 years since little Josh went to be with God. So much has happened in that time, yet it still feels like just yesterday when we heard the news. We still have Josh's picture on our magnet board, still point him out to the kids, still talk about him and how much he affected our lives, and most of all, still remember his fighting spirit and feel the pain of losing him. To the Kurby Family, we continue to be inspired and amazed by your strength and continued dedication to those who are affected by CHARGE syndrome. We admire your faith in God and God's plan. We are uplifted by your positivity and thankfulness in what you have. The Kurby's have two surviving children, Joey (Josh's twin) and Jill and they spend this day honoring Josh by being thankful for the family they have and spending the day together doing something special. I can't think of a better way to honor Josh than by having a family day and being thankful for the family for which they have been blessed, which includes Josh. We love you Kurby's and will always continue to keep Josh's memory and spirit alive in our lives.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Who is this?

My dad has been sending me pictures that he had on slides from when I was little that he is now putting on his computer and I am loving looking at all of them! If there is any doubt about who the girls look like, check out the below pictures. I see a lot of Abbey in these pictures, but mostly I am shocked by how much Juliette looks exactly like me!

And yes, I have always LOVED ice cream...
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Thursday, March 08, 2012

Funny Conversations

Every now and then I try to put funny things that the kids say on Facebook, but I realize that not everybody who reads this blog is on Facebook, so I thought I would share a few of our conversations lately. First, let me tell you that my kids say funny stuff everyday and I try my best to remember it all, but it's hard. I love seeing the world through their eyes. For instance, not a funny comment, but one morning last week Ben came into my room around 5 in the morning, lightly woke me up, and told me that he could hear birds outside his window! Thankfully, in my extremely tired state, I recognized what he was referring to and told him how cool that was. Last spring we talked a lot about the signs of spring (birds chirping, buds on the trees, etc). I love that they remember stuff like that and recognize it when they see it again. It constantly amazes me what they remember!

Speaking of having a good memory, tonight Ben said he wanted to play "shreds"...which we soon figured out meant charades! Anyway, he bent down and then quickly jumped forward while raising his arms out and then quickly bringing them back down. He did it several times and we finally told him that we had no idea what animal he was being. He looked surprised and said, "Mom, it's a flying gecko!" Oh did I miss that? Later on he was being another animal that we couldn't guess so he gave us a clue that he was green. So I guessed flying gecko! He looked at me like I was an idiot and said, "Mom, flying geckos are brown and yellow and their wings are yellow with black spots." Oh right, my bad. Apparently he learned about them on an episode of Wild Kratts, which by the way is an amazing kids show if you haven't heard of it! But anyway, how am I to compete with that???

Another brief conversation happened yesterday when Abbey informed me that when she turned 4, she would not need to hold my hand in an airplane when it went up in the clouds anymore. So Ben said, "Abbey, you know what I did to be calm in an airplane when I was 4? I ate lots and lots of starbursts....they really calm you down!" Abbey quickly pointed out to me that she would like to try this method and asked Ben how he did it. He said, "Oh it was easy. I just unwrapped them and ate them!" I love listening to conversations between the kids!

Kids are so funny if you really listen to them. I will try to think of more and post them when I can.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

President's Day

The day after Ben's party was President's Day, so Ben had off of school! And we had his friend Aiden over because he was also off of school and both his parents work, so he came over to play for the day! The weather was nice, so we took Belle on her first walk to the park (many more to come I am sure). Aiden wanted to walk her first...

Nobody was at the park, so we let Belle off leash to run around a bit.

She really enjoyed all the new smells.

And running around!

Just a pretty shot of Belle!

Pretty girl...

I just love the lighting on this one!

And we took the chance to blow some bubbles too.

Ah, finally warm enough to get back on the tire swing...Ben's favorite!

Even more fun with another person on it too!

Then it was time to walk home.  Abbey, being such a strong girl, pulled Juliette in the wagon the entire way home.  Juliette enjoyed it, but she wanted to hold my hand!

Ben got to walk Belle home.

It was a very fun day!
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