Thursday, December 29, 2016

Spring into Summer!

With the end of spring came the end of school time activities, which meant some performances for the girls. After being in a jazz/hip hop class all year, Juliette got to perform in her dance recital and show off her awesome moves!  Doesn't she look ready!

Sweet girl
Juj and Mommy before the big show.
The whole gang is excited to watch her.
Here she goes!
Check out that footwork!
The routine was super cute and she did great.
Flowers for her great performance!

We actually had to leave the recital a few minutes early to get to her next performance!  The girls had been rehearsing all spring for the play "The Lion King".  Juliette was a lion cub and Abbey was a hyena. 

Little lion cubs!

Abbey had some great lines in this play - silly hyena!

Both girls did awesome and it was really fun to watch them perform.  They loved it!
In between all 3 kids playing soccer, we do get a little downtown to relax and read on the couch.  These kids LOVE to read!
Ben is also into magic and he is training this little apprentice!
Matthew is quite the fan at the soccer games.  You can often hear him cheering for his siblings on the sidelines.  He has his own little chair and is often happiest watching the games when he has some food to eat while watching!
The girls walked in the Memorial Day parade with their Girl Scout troops.
One of the big parts of the parade is the village trucks that go by.  The day after the parade I was out walking with Matthew and a village truck was driving by.  Matthew was pointing at it showing it to me.  Then the truck pulled over and this guy got out and gave this little replica of a village truck to Matthew!  It was so sweet and Matthew was really enamored.  What an awesome village we live in!
And spring time meant some summer hair cuts for the girls.  Abbey had been growing her hair out and decided she wanted to chop it short, so she decided to donate her hair to Pantene, which collects hair to make wigs for kids with cancer.  Here is her before picture...
Juliette also wanted a shorter cut, but her hair wasn't long enough to donate.  But here is her before picture (with wet hair).
Yikes!  Look at all that hair Abbey donated!
And the start of summer meant our good friends, the O'Connors, came home from Singapore for the summer.  One of the first things they did was their (now) annual lemonade stand!  It was a highlight from last summer, so they decided to kick off this summer by doing it again.
I heard about a scavenger hunt around Arlington Heights that the local running store sponsored, so I got a sitter for Matthew (because it involved a lot of walking around the city) and the older 3 and I followed clues around the city, learned about the history of Arlington Heights, and had a really fun morning.  Check out these guys being the statues by the library!
At North School Park.
In front of the statue of Dunton, who founded the city!
We then had lunch at the Irish restaurant in downtown.  
And the scavenger hunt ended at Berry Yo with free frozen yogurt.  It was a really fun adventure!
The start of summer also means our annual tradition of going strawberry picking.  Matthew loved it, but most of his basket ended up being the tops of strawberries that he had eaten!

Ben and Matthew filling up their baskets.
Looking good Abbey!
Juliette and her strawberry load!
Check out our loot!  We ended up having to freeze some of them (we use them in smoothies) because we left for vacation before we could finish them.  But mostly, the kids just ate them up!

And of course we got apple donuts and frozen strawberry lemonade slushies for all our hard work picking!
And to finish off the school year, we went out to a special dinner to Benihana (where they cook in front of you hibachi style) to celebrate an awesome school year these kids completed!
Matthew trying to use chop sticks.
The kids had a great school year and we were all excited for summer to start and to have some family downtime.  I love when the kids are home for summer!

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Abbey's First Communion

Back to May, Abbey made her First Communion. She was nervous, but excited. We practiced at home. We went shopping for the dress (which she did not enjoy). We planned the party. Then the weekend arrived! Madgie and Patch came in early on Friday morning, so I picked them up from the airport and we went to the Children's Museum with Matthew.  Matthew loves the car section - it is difficult to get him to leave this area to explore the rest of the museum!

 Playing on instruments.
Then it was time to pick the kids up from school and really get ready for the weekend.  We set up for the party first (the kids love setting up for parties). Here is her Baptismal Candle on display - we lit it for the party.
Her cake - exactly how she wanted it decorated.
We got up early to curl her hair and get ready.  She really looked beautiful!  We had gone shopping for the dress and she was not interested in trying on dresses.  This was the third one she tried on and she said she liked it and was done!  She did not want a veil (neither did I at her age) and instead she wanted to wear the headband that I had worn to my First Communion (thank you Madgie for saving it!).  She wanted sparkly shoes to complete the look.  It was perfect for her!

Processing into the Church.

Abbey receiving the wine.
Singing "The Butterfly" song after Mass  

Her friend Emily had the same dress!
In true Abbey style, she loved the attention, but was also embarrassed by it.  She did not want to take pictures.  We had to snap a few of her though.  She did agree to do some, as long as she could hold Matthew in the pictures.
Abbey and her Godparents, Aunt Domi and Uncle Brandon!
Our family - she would only be in the picture because Paul picked her up!
The girls in front of Church.
Here I am trying to talk Abbey into just a few more pictures.
We had to do one picture with all the grandparents (and Matthew) because our picture taking was limited with Abbey!
And she's done - walking away ready to go home and eat!
Back at the house, Mama Kay read to Matthew while Abbey changed clothes, which she did immediately.
She was more comfortable in this dress for the party, but once the official festivities ended, she changed yet again into some shorts!
Juliette is checking out the feast that Abbey planned.
Abbey wanted sandwiches from Jimmy John's, fruit, chips, Doritos, and Macaroni and Cheese.  I added some dips and veggie tray as well.  
Abbey is ready for cake with her Fairy Godmother.
Another picture with her Godparents.
And her grandparents!
Then after all of the official festivities ended, she was able to relax and play basketball in the backyard with her cousins and siblings!
Matthew scored!
She also got some amazing gifts - THANK YOU!

It was a truly wonderful day for Abbey and I think she loved it.  Thank you all for coming.  The next day was Mother's Day.  We had a nice brunch at our house after Mass and then since it was a beautiful day, we decided to walk over to the Arlington Race Track.  Mama Kay stayed at the house while Matthew napped (thank you!!), so Papa, Madgie, Patch, Aunt Domi, Caroline and our crew went and had a fun time.
 My girl of the weekend and I.
 Hard to see in this picture, but they had funny animal races as well - here are the ostrich races, which were absolutely hilarious!
 My crew that made me a Mother (minus Matthew).

 My amazing mom and I.
Madgie and Patch. 
 And later I got some cuddles with my baby - a perfect Mother's Day!

A HUGE THANK YOU to all who came up to spend the weekend with us and celebrate Abbey's First Communion.  It meant so much to her (and us) to have you there.  Love you all!