Wednesday, November 25, 2015

July 4

July 4th is one of our favorite times of summer. Our village has a really good parade that we go to each year and one of our favorite teachers happens to live on the parade route and invites us to come watch it from her yard. It is always a good time! And as is our tradition, Aunt Domi and family come up to celebrate with us too!  We were excited to have Matthew be more of an active watcher of the parade this year.  Aunt Domi helped him get into the spirit of the parade.
I love this picture.  He really enjoyed waving to everyone.

Then he realized that candy was being thrown!!  Thanks to Juliette for sharing her bag with Matthew.
Juliette and Abbey with our good friend (back for the summer from Singapore).
Cuties :)
I don't have a great picture of it, but Abbey drew an American Flag on her cheek with face paint.  It was really well done.  She loves being a big sister to Matthew.
So glad to see my good friend Rachael back from Singapore!
A huge thank you to Mrs. Balogh, our school's Assistant Principal and Ben and Abbey's former kindergarten teacher, who invited us to her house to watch the parade!
After the parade, we hung out with the Acuff's for a bit before they left to attend some July 4th activities with their friends.  Later that afternoon, we had some friends over to our house for a BBQ.  
Ben had a lot of fun catching up with Michael and Charlie after being apart for a year!
The boys!
Mr. O'Connor had a magic wand and amazingly, every time Juliette looked into it, a dollar magically appeared for her!  She is still talking about this so I hope Mr. O'Connor remembers his magic next time he comes back!
And what is a 4th of July BBQ without some sparklers?

Juliette was actually a little afraid of the sparkler, so she needed Daddy's assistance to really hold it.
You can see her face here - she is not a fan of this!

But she is a fan of hanging out with her buddy Danny (who she plans to marry someday - they have it all worked out to have Macaroni and Cheese and Buttered Noodles at the wedding!).
Then they all walked down to see the fireworks while I stayed at the house.  It had been a long day for Matthew, so I put him to bed and listened to the fireworks.  I could see a few from above the trees too!  The next day we introduced the kids to the Frontier Days Festival.  We have never gone before and have purposefully kept the kids unaware of it, but this year we decided to embrace it and I must admit, it was a lot of fun.  They were pretty excited!
It's a big carnival with all your typical carnival rides and games, but the kids had never been to a carnival before and they really enjoyed it!
So cute!

Matthew enjoyed this game where he got to pick out a duck to see if there was a prize on the bottom.  He actually wouldn't pick up the ducks, but did enjoy putting his hands in the water and pushing the ducks down as they went by.  Finally Ben had to help him actually pick one!
Matthew is so easy going.  He just goes along with whatever we are doing.  Give him a big iced lemonade and he is one happy baby!
Ferris Wheel!
And the kids each did this big jumping thing where you were attached to big bungee cords and bounced on trampolines.  It looked like a lot of fun!
Matthew waved to them as they jumped.

And they had a game where you could bounce a ball into a glass water bowl to win a fish.  Well we let each of the kids try it and Ben won 2 immediately and Juliette won 1.  Abbey didn't win any, so we paid for one more try (which is about 6 balls worth of trying) and then she went on to win 3 fish.  So, we added 6 goldfish to our family!  We warned the kids that they wouldn't last long so to not get too attached to the fish, but would you believe that I am currently writing this on the day before Thanksgiving and we still have 4 of these original 6 fish!  The fish were cheap to win by this game, but all the tanks, supplies, food, etc. that we have bought for these fish really added up!  Oh well, it has been fun for the kids.
Another great July 4th to add to our memories.  And I have a feeling that going to Frontier Days will now be part of our annual 4th of July Festivities - hopefully we won't come home with 6 fish every year though!

Summer Fun!

No, I haven't given up the blog (despite my severe lack of posts lately). I am just very behind. But, as usual, I am trying to catch up! So let's remember back to summer. Summer in Chicago is the best, so we try our best to take advantage of it because it passes so quickly! One of our favorite early summer traditions is going strawberry picking, so we picked a nice Saturday and headed about 45 minutes north of us to our favorite place, Stade's Farm. This was going to be fun for Matthew, as last year we just carried him around. This year, I was certain he was going to have fun.  Abbey, our always happy to help Matthew girl, pushed his stroller out to the fields.
Matthew enjoyed walking around the fields.  And once he realized he could eat the strawberries straight from the plant, he was a happy camper!
Everybody wanting to help Matthew fill his basket!
I remember bringing this girl when she was a little older than Matthew and she just found a spot, sat down, and had herself a messy meal!  Now she is laughing as Matthew does the same thing!  Can't believe how quickly she has grown.

Abbey was trying to show Matthew to put the strawberries into the basket, but all Matthew saw was a nice basket of strawberries all ready for him to eat!

We had to pull Matthew out of there!
We got some sugar snap peas too, which are so yummy!  We had a good picking this year!
And our trip wouldn't be complete without the strawberry smoothies and apple donuts.

Delicious!!!  Although I had wonderful thoughts of making strawberry filled goodies, we pretty much just ate them all.  I did end up making some strawberry jam, which everyone liked, but I had to fight the kids off the strawberries so I could just have enough to make a small amount of jam.  I love that they just enjoy eating them though.  And they loved the sugar snap peas too.
Since Paul is working downtown now, we decided to take advantage of that too.  So, one afternoon, I got a sitter for Matthew and took the older 3 downtown in the afternoon to meet Daddy and have some fun downtown.  We figured we would just be able to do a bit more if Matthew stayed behind and he probably had more fun playing with his favorite sitter than being dragged around downtown.  So we waited for an afternoon train.
Kids were awesome on the train.  Abbey brought some coloring to do.
And these two brought books to read.
Daddy met us at the train station and then we took a water taxi over to Millennium Park.
First stop was to visit The Bean!

I had actually not been to the Bean before and I must say that it was pretty cool.

Then we walked over to the brand new Maggie Daley Park, which was amazing!  So much fun stuff for the kids to do - check out this entire area of huge slides!

They had all these separate areas of things to climb on.  The kids had so much fun!  
Then we found these nesting swings, which the kids enjoyed.

Then we took the train home.  It was a really fun afternoon and it felt good to take advantage of the city.  

Summer also meant that our good friends, the O'Connor's, came back from Singapore for a 6 week visit!  We were so excited to welcome them back home!
And Matthew has really gotten into his books lately too.
He is a super reader at the library!
He also got this new toy and loves dunking all his toys in it!

Summer is off to a great start!