Friday, April 30, 2010

Julie and Julia

Yesterday=busy=no time for blogging:) I raced around running errands with Z while waiting for S to be done with school, came home and cleaned and started dinner preparations, had dinner for/with a friend who is moving away on Saturday morning, blew many goodnight kisses to my sweet boys and then went to another friend's house for Girl's Night! I highly recommend having Girl's Nights. Especially when you rarely get to see girls. Because you have kids. And they are boys. Ahem.

I was so looking forward to the Girl's Night all week (a chance to escape for awhile? And watch a girly movie? Count me in!!) We watched Julie & Julia, which I had never seen but have heard great things about. I really liked it!

One thing I absolutely love about movies "based on true stories" (even though you know Hollywood mostly butchers them) is that there is a real story out there to learn about! I almost always become interested enough to do a little internet research and find out what the real people were like or what the true story was. I only briefly looked up Julie and Julia and already found a link to the original blog that started the whole thing. (I was going to post it but...)She's....different than the movie. I would not recommend reading the blog before watching the movie! As a matter of fact, just don't read the blog at all...

And not only did we watch a girly movie and snack on yummy food (well, I looked at the food and wished I was hungry, anyway....) but we all pulled out various crafty projects we are working on! I decided to bring one of 437 of my current projects, one that I hope to finish soon: a sweater for my newest nephew:)

Now if only I can finish before he turns 5........

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Goooood Morning...

Around 5:45 this morning, I was woken up by a strange moaning, half-crying sound. I rushed into the boys' room to find Samuel sleeping peacefully and Zakkai thrashing around on his bed. He was not fully awake but started telling me his tummy hurt. He sounded congested and felt like he had a low-grade fever.

I got him some water and some tylenol, thinking he had woken up with the same cold that I did. I went back to bed after tucking him in and just as I tried to drift off to sleep, I heard him moaning and talking again. I let it go for a little while but then he started crying and I decided to take him out to the living room to rest with me since we were both feeling miserable.

I had just carried him out and gotten a nice couch bed set up for us when he sank to the ground crying and then started coughing. Fearing and knowing he was about to throw-up, I raced madly into the kitchen for a bowl! I was too late... Poor buddy was so pale but started talking immediately after finishing getting sick. And didn't stop for the rest of the day.

Even though he started out the morning so roughly, he actually did really well today, just a runny nose. I, on the other hand, have a classic case of the cold: runny nose, slightly sneezy, aching head and face. So fun. Z and I spent a low key day at home today trying to nurse ourselves back to health:) Boy those 2 naps were nice!

Since there were no great photo ops today, I thought I'd post a pic of my chunky monkey just over 3 years ago. Hard to believe he's so big now and has such blond hair!!

Samuel tried to claim sickness to stay home from school today (a new ploy) because he was nervous about today's Pajama Day! He has been so excited for a week now and has been deciding on a different pair of pj's everyday...until today! He completely refused to wear any pajamas and dressed himself in regular clothes. But, being the all-knowing mummy that I am, I figured that he might change his mind when he saw all of his friends (esp Michael:) wearing jammies! Sure enough, he came home in his snuggly dinosaur pajamas:) They all brought their favorite blankets in and built forts, read books under them and ate popcorn.

Almost makes me wish I was in preschool again! Oh wait...I never went.....

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Field Trip

This morning Samuel and I took off super early for school for a field trip! Samuel always looks forward to the field trips that I tag along on:) We went here! We have never been to this museum before. It was a pretty long bus ride which made me thankful that I don't have to ride buses anymore!

I was in charge of 4 rambunctious preschoolers, including my eldest. One of the boys in my group, Michael, is Samuel's beloved friend whom he talks about all the time! (i.e. He wants us to name the baby "Michael" if it's a boy!) He is a very ornery busy boy but very cute. It's "But Michael said this" and "Michael brought this" and "Michael did this" all the time. He even wanted me to call Michael's mommy a few weeks ago just to find out if Michael was bringing a certain toy car to school. Peer pressure begins. But I digress.

The museum was a lot of fun and definitely one that I would recommend for those living in/around Chicago! There was a Dominick's grocery store for the kids to shop in, a pet vet, water works, even a Potbelly! They have pics of all of these on their website. Too cute.

It was SO exhausting keeping up with all of the kiddos. Counting 4 heads at each station, making sure they were listening, potty breaks, lunchtime.....At least 7 of the preschoolers fell asleep on the way back and I almost joined them:) Thankfully they all had seatbelts because one poor little slumbering boy almost fell off his seat!!

Even Samuel, who doesn't nap anymore, almost fell asleep as I drove back to our house. And I may or may not have snuck in a nap while letting the boys watch "Curious George." But I'm not admitting to anything!

Meanwhile, Daddy and Zakkai went on some "missions" today. Ben was trying to get Z to be excited about staying home with him and missing out on the field trip so he told him they had some "missions." Before he could even explain, Zakkai said, "Bbbbbut but daddy, your missions hurt my ears!" What a character!

They got to do laundry (woohoo!) and take a busride down to campus for Ben to pick up a few things. They had some very interesting conversations about dinosaurs, puppies and fires, of which I may have to share soon. We have a child with a giant imagination!

Off to get some rest after a busy day!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Big Decisions

Remember that discouraging day I briefly mentioned on Friday? Well, I am ready to talk about it:) We have been wrestling with and praying about making some very big changes in our household for this next year. There are so many factors going into these decisions but the biggest one is school.

We applied to several schools near us, hoping that we could not have to drive so far next year, especially considering Z would be in school, too, and on a different schedule AND poor Thomas baby #3 would never get a good nap at home! We really love Samuel's school so much. It has been a huge blessing to us and we know that he automatically has a spot in kindergarten next year and Z got into preschool there.

We just heard back from the last of the neighborhood schools today and Samuel is so high on the waiting lists, he didn't even stand a chance:( There was one school where he was #15 on the list but we didn't know anything about it. When Ben talked to the vice principal this morning, they told us we had to decide today if we wanted the spot! We immediately started researching the school and weighing our options and finally decided to turn down the spot, based on a few factors.

Soooo...what does that mean? We are going to be moving out of HP. It has been tough for us to make this decision after having lived here for almost 5 years but we feel this is what is best. (And we have done a whole lot of praying and talking about this!) It's not like we are moving super far away...only 25 min but it will be a big change!

A lot of things in our life will be changing in the fall and it's scary and exciting all at the same time. Change is never easy! We are trusting and hoping that God will be taking care of us and provide just what we need! We have been apartment hunting, just to see what was out there, and so far have seen very disgusting apartments (with dirty underwear on the floors and stained paint), very small apartments (as in, should Ben and I be sleeping on bunk beds?!) and have had a very bad experience with an irresponsible, rude real estate agent (that would be our discouraging day on Friday!). But we know there is something out there for us!

Next on the list after finding an apartment.....a car that can fit many Thomases. Hmmm....

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Patience is a Virtue

These cute little urchins....
But particularly this one...

are driving me batty! I love them to smithereens and wouldn't trade one second with them for anything in the world (even a Honda Odyssey 2010; haha!) but....there have been plenty of days lately that they have tested my limits! Especially that adorable 3 year old of ours.

I am pretty sure he skipped the terrible 2's and went straight for the trying 3's. He loves to test his limits and assert his independence and a whole lot of other things! He tells us "NO!" regularly and throws in a few other words, too.

For example: (and some of you have already heard this!)

I asked Z to do something the other day and he immediately yelled, "NO!" So, I told him he would be getting a time out for talking to me like which he responded, "Poo!"

I stuck him in the room with Ben so I could get things done while he was serving his time. Ben reported that he looked around the room as he was thinking of the worst possible thing he could say to show us how mad he was. He came up with something brilliant.

"Dirtiness!" he declared with defiance! Right.

And his words aren't the only thing he has been doing. Resisting finalizing his potty training, instead preferring to continue playing and peeing on the floor, starting to lie and blame many things on Samuel, taking toys....he has also developed genuine fears of ghosts, monsters and the dark and refuses to go into his room unless the light is on. Refusing to walk with anyone but me outside and throwing spectacular tantrums about it...

I love this child of mine. I adore him. I cherish him. But I really am about to send him to boot camp!

But it's hard to be mad long. In fact, sometimes he's very funny when he's defiant and it's hard for B and I not to show him our smiles. And your heart melts in his softer moments where he hugs you, kisses you or just wants to be near you. But especially when I look at his deceptively angelic face when he is slumbering peacefully.

And I tell myself, tomorrow is a new day.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Samuel's Artwork

After a very long and disappointing day (long story), we at least had a good ending. Samuel's school put on and "Enchanting Evening of Art" show today. The preschool gallery had auctions for their works of art to raise money for more art supplies. If you wanted to "bid" on or buy a special work of art (namely..your child's masterpiece!!), you put any amount of money (a quarter to a few dollars or whatever you had!) in plain envelopes and gave them to the teachers. In return, you received a post-it note with the words "Sold" and then your child's name on it to put on the art.

Samuel was SO excited all day to go, asking from 11:00am on if it was time and it didn't start til 3:30pm:) Here are Samuel's masterpieces!

The class did a unit on Eric Carle these past couple of months and each child made one of the characters in his books.

Samuel chose the Tree Frog and cut it all out and painted the pieces;) He was very excited to show us this one!
We bought it:)
He told us this was his favorite painting of the 3 that he did. This is "Lightening McQueen" from the Cars movie~his very favorite movie!

This was Samuel's painting of Kevin, who is a crane from Thomas and Friends. This one was my favorite! He wanted to take it home today:)

I was so happy to have remembered my camera today and finally got pics of Samuel with his teachers! This is Mrs Torres, one of the sweetest people ever! She is so gentle with the children. As you can see, Zakkai loves her, too:)

This is Mrs Darby. She is incredibly gifted as a teacher and won a big award last year! Samuel was being very shy and didn't want to get a picture so she tricked him by telling him a secret to get him to come over. He still won't tell me what she said....
I am so thankful that he has had such a great first year of school! We couldn't have been more blessed with better teachers and a better fit for him. Thank you, Lord!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Samuel the Teacher

Today we went to Samuel's student-parent conference at school. We were all really looking forward to it! (except for the meltdown situation we had 20 min before we left....) About 3 students and families came at a time, every 30 min. The first thing the teachers did was to tell Samuel to get his binder and his agenda:)

He had a sheet with all of the activities he was going to "teach" us circled. He started with a syllable game where you clap a persons name and sing a special song and tell how many syllables it has. Ex. Samuel (clapping twice)
Samuel (clapping twice)
How many sounds in Samuel's name?

He started out really shy, barely above a whisper but gradually gained confidence as he went through the names of his classmates:) Then he took us to "patterns" where he taught us how to build little block towers in color patterns. He was very serious as he showed us what to do!

Probably everyone's favorite activity was the ice melting. We each got a few ice cubes in a zipblock bag. We had to "measure" them with little blocks to see if they were big or small. Then we rubbed the bags to make our ice melt from solids to liquids. Zakkai had a great time!:)

Then Samuel had us make cards at the writing table. It was fun to watch him draw. He has started adding hair to his people. Boys' hair sticks straight up in lines and my hair, according to him, is "curly" because it curls around my whole head:)

We ended with snack time in which he very seriously laid out a small paper towel for each of us. Gave us a scoop of goldfish and then filled up little paper cups with water! Seriously, it sounds kind of silly to someone else but it was SO cute! He is getting so big. One of his teachers told us she is so confident that he is ready for kindergarten and will do great!

There was a little video for us to watch in the hallway. They set up a laptop and you could click on "Morning Friends" or "Afternoon Friends" to see little videos they had taken. Samuel was in one called "Samuel's Surveys." He decided last week one day to take a survey and ask people if their puppy was sick. He was holding a piece of paper and a marker and he asked different classmates, with some guidance from his teacher, is their puppy was sick. The kids were so cute:) The final tally was 3 puppies were sick. Mrs Darby, his teacher, asked him, "So what are you going to do about that?" He shrugged, looking very shy, and said, "I don't know." You could tell she was smiling when she said, "Oh, okay, you just wanted to know if people had sick puppies?"

Samuel walked away proudly today, knowing that his mommy and daddy are SO proud of him and love to see how hard he works! I only wish I would've remembered to bring my camera.....

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

12 weeks!

Happy 12 weeks to me today! It's always a wonderful milestone to reach and celebrate. I thought I'd post a pic showing you the bump, which I plan to do each month. I swear it's much bigger in person. I suppose I shouldn't complain as I will be the size of a small car in a few months!! :) Only feeling a teensy bit better but still hoping this will be the week of new energy and a calm stomach!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Recipes and Pictures

Somehow in between watching 2 extra children for 4 hours and feeling nauseous (the story of my life), I managed to make dinner. *clap, clap, cheer!* Dinner-making hasn't been high on my list in the past couple of months so I'm rather pleased with myself when I do attempt it:) Whether it be macaroni and cheese or Sausage Gumbo Soup with Homemade Oatmeal Bread!!

And now that Ben can smell again, it's so nice when he walks in from a hard days' work, sniffs appreciatively and says, "Something smells good!" Even if it doesn't smell good to me....

I think I only gagged twice while chopping all the veggies! Please don't let that deter you from trying this soup:)

Sausage Gumbo Soup
2 stalks celery, diced
1 medium carrot, diced
1 small-med yellow pepper, diced
1/2 med green pepper diced
onion, minced (I am never a good judge of onion amount, considering I just starting using real onion in the past year!!)
1/4 cup flour
2-3 cups chicken broth
1/2-1 lb turkey kielbasa or turkey sausage, sliced
1 can petite diced tomatoes, undrained
seasoning (I used a few shakes of garlic powder, Mrs Dash Table Blend and a little bit of Garlic and Herb)

1. Saute veggies in oil until tender. Stir in flour (will coat veggies). Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Stir until mixture thickens. Add sausage, tomatoes with juice and seasonings. Cook on low until soup is heated through.
*Or after chicken broth stage, transfer to a crockpot, add rest of ingredients and cook on LOW for 3 hrs

*Serve with homemade bread!!
As requested, here is a picture of Samuel's drawing I mentioned in last night's post:) Even if Ben isn't quite as big as I remembered, I am impressed at Samuel's accurate sizing of each family member!!
In order: Zakkai, Me, Ben, Baby, Samuel:)

While he has progressed to hair, arms, hands and legs, people don't have bodies yet:) I love his drawings!!

We took care of a friend's children this afternoon. Her youngest is a little over a year and a half old and very cute. Samuel watched him throughout dinner and then said to me, "Mommy, J is SO cute!! He even eats cute every time!" I think he'll do a great job with the new baby in the fall!:) Zakkai might be a different story....

Sunday, April 18, 2010


The weekends always rush by and before I am ready, it is time for the busy week again! I had high hopes at the end of last week that I was on the upward swing from morning/all day sickness. I had 3 whole days of feeling better (not great but better!!) and that ended when I threw up Friday night. I am really hoping this will be the week I start to feel human again!

Zakkai was much better this weekend after his afternoon of terror on thursday! Oh and a bit of an attitude problem yesterday morning.....but other than that! On friday I was teasing Samuel in a game that we play together, that we were going to have ladybugs for dinner. Samuel, knowing it was a joke, said, "Ew! They would be juicy!" I looked in the rearview mirror to see Zakkai looking very concerned. He said, "Mommy. Mommy, I don't want to eat ladybugs for dinner! They would make my mouth prickle!" He was very relieved to know I was joking:)

The boys have been playing SO nicely together lately! They spend large amounts of time building train tracks or racing cars around the house. I love when they play happily with minimal fighting. It's so fun to hear them make up stories and tell each other where to drive or what to do.

The boys and my grandparents in Florida!

Our one picture in Florida with all 4 of us:)

We have quite the busy week ahead of us! One thing I am looking forward to is Samuel's student-parent conference on Wednesday. He gets to show us the things he has been learning in school and what he likes to play with. He always feels so proud to share these things with us! He has been drawing a lot more pictures, something he did NOT like to do when he first started school. He usually likes to draw pics of our family.

Last Sunday, Samuel came home with his most recent family pic that he drew during church. It was our family walking together, holding hands. Zakkai was on the end standing with me (since he cannot walk by anyone else!), then next to me was Ben. In between Ben (who was HUGE) and Samuel, was a teeny tiny person. It was the baby! When questioned, he told us that he drew the baby in between daddy and Samuel so they could protect the baby! Isn't that sweet?! Melted our hearts, for sure:) His picture is on the refrigerator, needless to say!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Working out and Crazy Boys

Confession Time: I have really really fallen short on my workout sessions since January. I do, however, have some really great excuses! Let's see......stomach flu, colds, mouth surgery, pregnancy and all of the joyous 1st trimester symptoms! I think that about covers it! So my working out has been very sporatic.

But! I am determined to take care of myself during this pregnancy better than ever before! With Samuel, we walked a few times a week, especially in the few months before he came. With Zakkai, I was chasing a toddler and I happen to think that counts for something! But since Zakkai, i have gotten in better shape than ever before in my life (thanks to Jillian!) I would like to continue that trend to have a health pregnancy and hopefully, quick recovery afterwards!

So, I started looking online for a pregnancy workout video, something that I would feel safe doing during the next several months. I ended up choosing this:

Summer Sanders' Prenatal Workout. It got good reviews and I liked that it is divided into the 3 trimesters so you can do what's right for your body during that time! I tried it for the first time today!

Summer is doing the video with her sister-in-law, who is a professional trainer. I found the exercises to not be too strenuous (is anything strenuous compared to Jillian Michaels??!!) but definitely good for keeping up what I've worked so hard to get! I am posting this because I know that at least 2 of my friends who read this (and you know who you are!!!) are also having babies this fall and thought they might be interested! Will keep you posted on my progress of trying not to turn into Shamoo by November!:)
Moving on to Crazy Boys. I thought I was absolutely going to lose it yesterday. It was one of those mothering days, or afternoons really, where I was ready to start applying for 3 year old boot camp for Zakkai!!

It started with him peeing on the floor (approx 4 minutes after he assured me he did not have to go potty) and making a mess of it, then later refusing to go potty again and throwing his toys in protest, followed by time-out where he refused to sit where I placed him, in which he told me I was "bad"..........I was SO upset with him. I finally stuck him in his room while I continued my mad frenzy of cleaning for Thursday housegroup. He got quiet after a few minutes and called out, "Mommy! I'm ready to be a nice boy!" and then when I told him he needed to wait and I would be there in a minute to have a talk with him, he immediately screamed, "You're BAD!!!!"

Daddy had the wonderful fortune of coming home right at this point and thankfully helped me finish dealing with Z's attitude. THEN, I stick the boys at the table for dinner, during which Zakkai threw his food on the floor in protest of finishing it, picked it all up and then ate it (I did not tell him to do that!!) after being threatened with no strawberry shortcake for dessert (which he didn't get anyways). THEN he proceeded to dump the rest of his dinner all over the table. (Meanwhile, Samuel was being an angel child the whole afternoon, cleaning up without being asked, gobbling up his dinner, listening out of two ain't bad, I guess!)

By the time dinner was over, I asked Ben to take him away from me for a few minutes because I was smokin'! Zakkai was sent to bed without strawberry shortcake and without a story. He has promised to be a good boy today with the hopes that he may yet get to taste some strawberry shortcake for dessert tonight.

We shall see.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Voice

1:56pm. The voice I heard calling from the boys' bedroom:

"Moooooooooommmmmmy! It's morning time! I want to wake uuuuuppp!"

3 second pause.

"I don't hear your vooooiiicce! You're not answering meeeee!"

2 second pause.

"Moooooooooooooooooooooooooooommmmmmmmmmmmmmmyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy! I want to wake UPPPP! Moooommmy. I want to wake up!"

Long pause in which I heard soft murmerings and occasional bangs and began to be suspicious. Suddenly I heard knocking coming from the inside of the door.

The knocking continued for several seconds while I got up to investigate. I found my youngest, with rays in hand, informing me that naptime was over and he was ready to get up. Some toys were strewn about the room and as I led him back to bed, informing him that it was NOT over....much screaming ensued.

I went back to the living room and after a moment or two the screaming abruptly stopped and then:

"Mommy! I hear that it's time for me! It's time for me to wake up. Yeah!"

So much for naptime. The end.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Thomas Bump

Today is my officially official day of announcing:

That Thomas Bump #3 is on the way!!!

Our little gift is 11 wks today and we got to celebrate by hearing his/her heartbeat!! Even the boys got to hear it and couldn't figure out what in the world that sound was and why it was so fast!

Today also marks (OH Please, dearest Lord!!) the countdown to feeling better? Sigh. 5 1/2 weeks now of terrible nausea, constant gagging and exhaustion. But I am thankful for every minute of it because I know that little heartbeat is working hard in there! I remember that when I wake up in the morning and walk down the hallway and gag. Say goodmorning to the boys and gag. Think about, walk near or in the kitchen and gag. Open the refrigerator and gag. Brush my teeth and gag. And on and on! Gag...

Even though my gagging makes Ben laugh (well, he has endured a lot of it and sometimes it's at funny times!!) and the boys have had to put up with mommy not being quite herself for awhile, I am so thankful! I have consumed mass amounts of crackers, toast and peanut butter AND (get this!) practically NO chocolate. I know. I am really hoping that chocolate thing will end quickly. I wouldn't want my poor child to not have the pleasure of tasting chocolate while it's growing!

And so because I cannot hide my gagging or sipping on gingerale or my newly showing "bump"any longer, I share with you that we are thrilled to be expecting Thomas Bambino #3 in the fall, my favorite season! What a Gift!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Spelling Bee

The other day, Samuel didn't have school so we planned a last minute, though long desired, trip to Ikea! The boys really like Ikea and truth be told, so do I:) I really only had one thing in mind that I have been wanting for the boys for a long time and since we rarely have a whole weekday off, I decided to go ahead and get it!

The boys were in awe of the gigantic letters spelling Ikea and Samuel, who is really doing a great job of reading and sounding out words these days, had a great time spelling it.

He even spelled it again for Daddy once we got home:) And speaking of spelling, the item I got will help with that tremendously!

A chalkboard/dry erase board/drawing board!! Needless to say, my dinner preparations were peaceful and quiet that evening:) Before and during dinner, Ben would write out different words for Samuel to sound out and read. He LOVED doing that and has been begging to do it since and wants to read books, too!! I knew that $15 was well-spent!

And one of the nicest perks? Besides some peace and quiet, of that sometimes I come out and there are sweet messages written from the hubby to me:)

Maybe that's what I was really aiming for all along! ;)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Spring Flowers and Crepes

Two days in a row of partial sunshine have given me the hope that spring just may come to Chicago this year! It's always a risky thing in April to believe in spring or summertime, given that one day might be sunny and 70 and the next might be snowy and 37! So I decided to liven up my blog with spring flowers in the faithful hope that spring will come. Soon.

Samuel tells us that he misses Florida. The boys were slightly cagey this week from being cooped up after so many days of fresh air and exercise!

3 special men that fill my life with joy and contentment.

A picture of all the golf carts parked at one of the town squares. Samuel was asking me this week why we can't ride golf carts in Chicago. I thought of a few reasons 1)We would all die 2)People are too impatient around here to take the time to putter around in a golfcart.

I just chose to tell him that chicago wasn't made for golfcarts like Florida was. I still think he's considering retiring there....


We had crepes for our breakfast dinner tonight! I chose it because it is one of the boys' (esp Samuel) very favorite dinners! I don't do crepes very often because it is extremely time-consuming. I have to make the crepe batter and cook them, make sausage links, eggs, vanilla pudding, cut up fruit.... The nice thing is that we always have leftovers from our breakfast dinners and have a yummy breakfast the next morning!

I will share the recipe for the homemade vanilla pudding I use for the fruit crepes!

Homemade Vanilla Pudding

3 TB flour

1/3 cup sugar

4 tsp cornstarch

1 dash salt

2 cups milk

2 egg yolks

1 TB butter

1 1/2 tsp vanilla


1. Combine flour, sugar, cornstarch and salt in a small saucepan. Add milk gradually. Cook, stirring, over low heat until thickened. This will take several minutes; do NOT rush this stage!

2. Blend about half of milk mixture into the egg yolks in another bowl. Pour yolk mixture back into saucepan with rest of milk mixture. Stir and cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat.

3. Add vanilla and butter and stir until mixed in. Cool. We serve this on crepes with cut up bananas and strawberries! Also good just for dessert:)

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Saturday Fun

The Thomas family was mostly all smiles today with the sun shining out our many windows and the air warm enough to open some windows. Refreshing.

The boys started out their mornings with desperately needed haircuts, which they love so much. Or not.

Zakkai in the chair of misery. Although he does handle haircuts pretty well. Mostly.

Whereas his brother does not. Samuel + haircut= Torture.

After a bath long enough to wrinkle their fingers and toes, we got dressed and went to a birthday party for an adorable little lady who turned 1. The boys love birthday parties. Mostly for the cake and ice cream, of course:)

Then we came back and went with Daddy to the park to play some baseball! Or in my case, sit on a blanket and pretend to read.

Daddy, the teacher, working hard to show S how to stand properly.

Mr. Personality sat with me off and on, between chasing a few rogue balls, collecting sticks and attempting to hit with the bat.
Future Baseball Professionals?

We ended our time outside with a bubble blowing session. Well, they blew. We watched:)

With their bellies full of some homemade pizza, the tired munchkins were tucked into bed at 6:30 and nary a peep was heard from them. Time to relax....

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Feeding Alligators

I loved this sign in Florida! It freaked the boys out a bit to think of alligators nearby but unfortunately we didn't see any. Maybe next time!

Speaking of gators, the boys have said some funny things lately. Samuel was frustrated with Zakkai telling him not to do something the other day and he burst out, "Zakkai! Don't tell me what I don't want to do because I want to do what I want to do!!" It took me a minute to sort through that:) I'm not sure Zakkai ever did...

Zakkai said something so mixed up the other day and it was super funny. Unfortunately, I forget what it is!! I told myself to write it down.... It would've been good, I promise!

He is mister 'tude lately. When he gets mad (usually at Ben), he will turn his face away and squeeze his eyes shut and say, "I am not looking at you!!!" It is very hard not to laugh at him because he looks so cute doing it!

We had some White Chili last night that had corn in it. Samuel thinks he hates corn (which he does unless it's corn on the cob! Go figure...) so he refused to eat it which led to Zakkai refusing to eat it, too. I looked at Zakkai and said, "You just ate corn last night in your vegetables!!" But that was too logical so that didn't work. Then Samuel picked up his spoon and tried a teensy weeny bite and declared the soup "good!" We had a very enlightening discussion on corn and different foods that are made from corn that they like. And before you know it, Zakkai picked up his spoon and nibbled on a bean first, then a piece of chicken and then...he tried a kernel of corn (which we told him not to eat~reverse psychology!) and before you know it, he inhaled the whole bowl!

Children! I will remember this one day when they are teenagers with insatiable appetites, eating everything in sight!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Sun

Isn't the sun a glorious creation?!! There are different suns, I have discovered. There is the Florida sun which shines brightly and illuminates everything with its yellowy warmth. It pours down on you and fills you with light and hope and happiness. It is beautiful.

And then there is the midwest sun. Sometimes it likes to come out. When it feels like it. It is usually pale and can add some warmth to the day. Unless you live in Chicago. In April. And then the sun hides behind clouds filled with rain. And you long for it to come out.

I miss the sun.

Feeding the ducks at the lake. In the sun.

I love how fuzzy Zakkai looks in the sun. His hair so blond. His eyes so blue.

The sun inspires things like picnics. Blowing bubbles. Naps.
Thank you, God, for making the sun. Can you bring it back out again?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

More Florida:)

Well, we are all exhausted here and trying to catch up on the 1 hour time difference we have been "living" in for the past 10 days! The boys seemed very glad to be home today. They really enjoyed playing with all of their long lost toys!

It was a busy day catching up on things: taxes (so much fun), grocery shopping, returning library books and taking Samuel to school. And just like that *insert snapping of fingers* vacation is over.

I had two mini blessings from two frustrating experiences today! That always perks me up. I had a "situation" with the library while we were gone and was treated very rudely (a usual in Chicago) by a library staff member about some movies that I forgot to renew over vacation. I tried to call while we were gone and fix the situation to no avail. But I went in person today and explained the situation to the branch manager who waived the late fines and apologized for the way I was treated! I am very thankful there are still kind people in this city!

And then immediately after, Z and I went grocery shopping. I had everything packed into the bags, into my cart and was swiping my card when the credit card machine froze. The batty cashier kept trying to make me press buttons over and over and then manually tried to enter my card number (while reading the numbers OUTLOUD). And then, even though I kept asking her if there was someone else who could help, she erased my whole transaction!! I was kind of frustrated. A manager came over and had me switch lanes, unload all of my groceries and do it all over again. She gave me $5 dollars off my total for my patience. Not much but hey, $5 is $5!


Now for Pictures!`

Zakkai immediately fell in love with Grandpa Great and climbed in his lap talking him into playing with him. There was some serious etchasketching going on here!

The boys in the golf cart after the Easter Egg Hunt. It was really hot out that day! We were on our way to swim...And no, Zakkai didn't drive;)

On the way to the pool (after the above pic), Zakkai fell asleep. He zonked out hard and we let him rest for awhile. It's hard work being on vacation!!

The boys were enjoying the rocking chairs in front of Grandma and Grandpa Great's House:) Samuel says when he gets older, he is going to go live down there!

The boys in the hotel room on the way back home. One minute they were wide awake asking questions (It's very hard to settle down in a strange place!) and the next minute they were out! I was up several times in the night to catch Z before he fell off the bed (I caught him the first time, the second he fell off and I jerked awake and put him back in bed. He never woke up...), to get Samuel off of Zakkai whom he was laying practically on top of, to use the bathroom and itching because I am terrified of getting hotel bedbugs.
Maybe I shouldn't watch those Dateline shows on hotel bedbugs anymore......

Monday, April 5, 2010

Home Sweet Home?

After a combined total of around 37 hours of traveling, 2 hotels stays, and 6 full days of sunny vacation....we are back. We pulled into not-so-sunny Chicago around dinnertime tonight with 2 little boys and 2 parents who are wholeheartedly sick of the car!!! But we have a lot of new great memories to hang on to as we jump back into real life again.

And so before I keel over from exhaustion, I will share a few pictures to tide you over!

My handsome men!

Visiting one of the town centers called "Spanish Springs" for pizza!

What is a vacation without ice cream?!

More ice cream by the lake. Z went for chocolate as usual:)

The boys relaxing together on the lanai (a screened in porch) on our last afternoon:)
More tomorrow!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Fun in a Nutshell

Swimming, tennis, Bocce, Easter Egg Hunt, ice cream by the lake, old people line dancing, live music, 80 degree weather, gorgeous sunshine, no cares, riding in the golf cart, eating pizza, reading books on the lanai, lazy early mornings, friendly people, palm trees, water, safety, relaxation.......

Life is good. And I am thankful!