Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Pigeons, Family and Birthdays!

We are finally getting our beautiful June weather! Just in time for July:) It was so cool out this afternoon that the boys actually wore jackets to the park. They love going to the butterfly park. Since it is usually empty, they have free reign to run and yell and chase each other or, in today's instance, chase pigeons away:) "Shoo, pigeons! Shoo!" Really, you don't need to spend much money on kid's toys. A big cardboard box, some crayons, paper, a park full of pigeons....

So hard to believe that my oldest pigeon-chaser is going to be FIVE on Tuesday! It is such a big birthday to me. Five. Five years since I held that little baby boy in my arms for the first time and became a mommy. I remember having to stay home for 4th of July that year, instead of traveling to Ohio like we do each year, and being about 16 months pregnant (or so I felt:). And two days later....we were surprised with a baby boy! We brought him home on my birthday two days after that. Best bday present I've ever gotten!

Speaking of Ohio, we are gearing up to make our annual summer trek! We leave early Friday morning for a week. Samuel is so excited about spending his birthday with our families and is wondering what sort of birthday treasures he will receive:) I love spending the 4th with family, except this year we will be missing some family who moved away a few months ago (including my uncle who was born on the 4th and my aunt with whom I share a bday!) And most importantly, my bestest cousin in the whole world. Miss you, C!

And speaking of family, I want to wish a very Happy Birthday to my sis, K, today!! I guess I can't call you my "little sister" anymore, since we're both in our upper 20s! I love you, K, and I hope you have had a great birthday. Someday I hope we can live near each other and spend lots of time making up for all these years of being apart. I miss you and I can't wait to see you in a couple of days!!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Poo at the Zoo

Today my friend and I took our boys to the Lincoln Park Zoo! It was an absolutely beautiful day, perfect for gawking at animals. We saw everything from lazy lions to stinky rhinos...

These 3 buddies had a great time running and staring at the amazing animals.

They also had a fascinating conversation about Rhino poop. Really. It intrigued them greatly that a large stinky rhino had a place to poo just like the rest of us! Boys.

And then we were blessed to see more poop in the chimpanzee exhibit. Right after my friend and I were saying what expressive, cute animals they were....we spotted something nasty from which I will spare you the details! I'm glad I'm not a zookeeper..

This sweet boy asked me, "Mommy, if you threw a rope up in the sky, could you hook it around a cloud and bring the cloud down?" He gets his brain from his daddy:)

And this little-big boy fell asleep about 10 min before we got back home, only to wake right up once inside because there was a special box on the table that excited him. Inside was a new potty seat, with a ladder attached, to hopefully help him do a little poo-pooing himself:) We've had a bit of trouble in that area and he is very afraid of the potty seat we have, which wiggles around a lot as they climb on. He was very excited about this new seat and claims he will go poo-poo immediately!
I am still waiting... sigh.

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Great City of Chicago

This is what I think of how the city of Chicago is run:

What fueled this distaste? I had to make a trip to the Department of Motor Vehicles to renew my license today. I would've done it online or through the mail except for two reasons. A) because our address changed and B)my picture on my license. I was really sick with my thryoid bit (only I didn't know it) and I was super pale with deep circles under my eyes and I was really low weight. It was embarassing to show it to people!

So now after sitting in long lines and paying $30, I have a picture where I look like I just swallowed a bird! It was a great time....

And then, because the DMV no longer sells city sticker, I had to come home to go online and pay $75 for our annual city sticker. (and that's only the summer sticker! We get to pay $80 in December for our license plate sticker..)Grrr. Over $100 that we could really use, given to a very corrupt city! Sorry, it just makes me crazy!


In happier news, I unpacked my second to last box today! It was just a box that I had been ignoring for awhile because I wasn't sure where to put the contents. I really like how our place looks and feel like it is easier, due to the layout, to keep it cleaner and less cluttered looking!

Now if only I could figure out what to do with the last box of junk that we hauled over here....:)

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Oh me, Oh my!!

I've been in a bit of a cooking slump lately; maybe because of moving or all the illness or because it's been so dang hot!! My wonderful husband put up the window air conditioners today and that allllllll changed.
I was a brand new woman in the kitchen this afternoon, whipping up a FANTASTIC dinner! Sunday nights are usually our breakfast for dinner, which is one of my favorite type meals to make. They are more fun and are usually gobbled up with no complaints.
Tonight was no exception. Allow me to introduce you to: Breakfast for Dinner.
Fruit Salad! I love, love, LOVE how many fresh fruits are available in the summer! Not to mention, it is a great excuse to visit my very new favorite store: Pete's Fresh Market!

Scrambled Egg Muffins (, all with sausage; half with green peppers (for the mama and daddy) and half without (for the pickies). Really good!

The Piece De Resistance! Oh me, Oh my! These cinnamon rolls were some of the best we have ever tasted! Seriously. Forget your diet and look closely at the cinnamon-sugar filled, flaky dough goodness.

And then add the frosting. Wipe your drool away. Ah-MAY-ZING! Ben looked like he'd died and gone to heaven. I had to splash cold water on his face to bring him back. And then I took my own first bite...

You know what my least favorite part of cinnamon rolls is? The ends. Usually there are about 5 cinnamon rolls, one ooey gooey center one that everyone fights over and 4 around the outside with overbaked crispy edges. Blech! Not these, my friend. Every single bite of these was full of goodness. Is your mouth watering yet? Tender, moist, cinnamony, sugary, frosting-y, melt in your mouth goodness.

He fully enjoyed his dinner, as you possibly can tell:) Mr. Blueberry Face in his ham-cheesy glory! He usually talks non-stop during dinner but he barely uttered a word, other than, "More, please!!"

Oh yeah, I'm the big brother! He loved every morsel of dinner, which is rare. He even told me, "Mommy, I really like this dinner. Sometimes I don't like dinner but tonight I do!" Too bad the cinnamon rolls didn't have broccoli or carrots in them or I'd make them more often.....

Sis, when you and T come to visit, be prepared for some tasty breakfast!!!

Cinnamon Rolls . I followed the recipe, using my bread machine (I highly recommend having one!!) but as you can see, there is a way to do it by hand, too! It made such a beautiful, easy to handle dough, which is rare. I also reduced the brown sugar in the filling to 3/4 a cup but you could reduce it even more.

Sweet Cinnamon Dreams!!!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Fire Rally 2010

Recently I mentioned that we met a fireman at one of our new parks we like to go to. Russell the Fireman, as we call him, told us about a Fire Station event this Saturday so we decided to check it out!

At a Chicago fire station/training facility, they held a Fire Rally Event with fire trucks from different counties and states and some really old ones from the early 1900s! There were vendors selling all sorts of fire-related paraphernalia. Toys, stickers, t-shirts, antiques, bells, fire equipment and more.

They barriered off a block with firetrucks so they could spray water for kids to run in!

This was an old pumper from 1907! The kids who ran through were soaked. Our boys did NOT want to run through!:)
My men posing in front of an old fire truck. A boys' dream!

We actually saw our new fireman friend at the fire event and he showed us all around! He told us that this fire station was built on the site of the beginning of the Great Fire of 1871! Crazy to think about~especially now that we live here and know the area.

We cooled off after our special outing with some ice cream at Oberwies! I have really been wanting to try some ice cream from here, as I have heard great things about it. Their Chocolate Peanut Butter ice cream gets a full 2 thumbs up from me:)

My 2 little Firemen in training!

They adore these fire hats that Russell gave them. They immediately whipped off their baseball hats in favor of these hats and wore them until the hot sun shining down on the black hats baked their little heads:)

And then we had to come home and watch some YouTube movies of fires and firetrucks! The fireman told us all about firetrucks which has probably spurred a new interest for the next few weeks:) For ex. Fire trucks put at least a million miles on each year! Crazy! He said they can have 20 million and more and still be running. Now why can't they make cars like that?
It was a fun day:) Oh the wonderful life of little boys!!!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

My Day

*Gave the apartment it's first top to bottom cleaning today and it felt good!! It helps to have company over to spur on the cleaning and last of the unpacking. I love my hardwood floors but I don't like how dirty they get. You can't see the dirt like you could with our old tile floors but it's there. Evidenced by the boys' dirty feet everyday. Yuck!

*Finally hung some pictures up. I asked Ben to do it but then I grew mold. So I did it myself. I'm still waiting for the clock to be hung up though.....It would be nice to know what time it is! I tried to tell by the position of the sun but it has only been sunny twice this week so that didn't work.

*Took Samuel on a last minute grocery shopping trip to get dinner supplies for some company. (We grilled chicken, had corn on the cob, fresh green beans and roasted diced potatoes. MmmMmm good!) He asked me for the 40th time if I would by him a little car (you know the trap they set by putting cool little knick-knacks and toys by the cash register?) and when I said no, he said, "You NEVER buy me anything!!!" We had a long talk on the way home about being thankful for what he has. And I might have thrown in a story or two about children who don't have toys. Or clothes. Or food.

*Came back from said shopping trip to give Ben allergy drops I bought him for his eyes only to realize that he has pink-eye. Sent him off to the drs to get drops and now I'm praying no one else gets it....

*Made a Strawberry and Cream cake for dessert. Yuuuummmmy.

*Spent the late afternoon and evening with some "old" friends! We have been friends since high school-ish age and they have visited us in almost every single home we have lived in. They have 3 little girls. We may have arranged a marriage...I think I have both the boys taken care of now.

*Washed about 112 dishes today and now I'm ready for bed!!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

After the Storm

Tonight after a raging thunderstorm and tornado warnings, sirens going off, and frightening claps of thunder.....the sky was painted with a rainbow. I could see it between the trees, stretching over the cross that sits atop the tallest spire of the church across the street.

Everytime I see a rainbow, I am in awe of such magnificent beauty! It always comes after rain, storms and dark weather. What child do you know that hasn't drawn a rainbow arcing across their page with red, orange, yellow, green and blue? I know I drew many of them as a child!

But the thing that really strikes me is I feel like rainbows are a reminder that God is with us in the midst of storms. He has not forgotten. He makes beauty from ashes.

I was feeling alternately sad and thankful today. Sad because I had to say goodbye to one of my closest friends today. She came and introduced herself to me about 3 years ago, right after she had moved into our building with her husband and baby girl. We have spent so much time together over the past few years, talking about everything under the sun, driving our husbands crazy as we would "pop" over to each others apartments for a few minutes and then hurry home an hour later! Our families have grown as we have shared this close friendship. Our children became best buddies; her beautiful little girl calling S and Z "the boys" and now Samuel wanting to name our little girl after her! She has added 3 more children to her family and we are adding another one. We've seen each other through many illnesses, encouraging each other as we have supported our husbands in school, celebrating birthdays, watching Twilight movies together (I totally just admitted that outloud! And I'm not ashamed..) and consuming much chocolate!

My friend, if you read this, I have shed many tears today over the thought of us not living one floor apart anymore. I know distance makes friendships a little harder but I am determined to hang on to you as a friend! Not to mention, we do have a marriage to arrange between A and one of the boys. She has plenty of time to pick but we should draw up the papers soon....:) I will miss you so much.

We left a lot behind in our old neighborhood and it sounds silly, considering we are only 30 minutes away! But we formed a community there and made so many friends that are like our Chicago-branch family. And we had to tear away a little bit to create something new here. Because we feel so strongly that we should be here and that God has a lot in store for us this next year.

It was a really tough winter for us, in ways that I shared here on the blog and in other, more heartbreaking ways that only a few people know about. And in the midst of a wearying storm, we got our first rainbow blessing: baby Thomas on the way. And we've had more rainbows since then that give me such hope for a future that contains so many unknowns and the knowledge that God is with us, through the storms and after.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


I am sure he'll be really thankful one day that I posted this picture:) I laid down with Z at naptime to read him a couple stories and rest with him for a "few" minutes (which really means that I fall asleep with him!). I said, "I love you, Zakkai." He doesn't say it back very often but today he peeked an eye over the top of his rays and said, "I love you!"

We decided to have a dinner picnic at a new park tonight. It did not turn out to be the greatest decision. There were a lot of really young kids at this playground (right next to a school) that had little or no supervision. One lady was seriously on her cell phone the entire time we were there, barely paying attention when her toddler would wander away.

But the thing that really upset us was how this older brother who was maybe 8 or 9 was treating his younger brother, probably 2 or 3. He yanked him off of a bicycle and started slapping him when he cried and was pushing and shoving him, trying to make him walk. Ben immediately got up and started asking some of the adults if those were their kids but no one knew who they were. Ben started walking after them to do what, I don't know but neither one of us could stand to see this little boy being treated so roughly. The older brother twisted his arms behind him and was forcing him to walk while jerking him around.

Finally we saw them head to a parked van with all the doors open. There were a few more kids inside the car but no adults around. We kept glancing over periodically, hoping to see someone watching these young children but not for at least 30 minutes did an adult appear. And then the last time I glanced over, I saw the mom loading up the kids, not putting any of them in carseats (all of them were at least 2-8 years old) and driving away with the 2 year old in the front seat. I was so upset to see such neglect and mistreatment. That brother was probably just emulating what he has seen the parent (s?) do to him and his siblings.

I was so sad for awhile afterwards but it made me really thankful that Ben and I care about our boys so much. We are most definitely not perfect parents, often making mistakes but I really hope that we learn from them. And I pray that God grants us more wisdom and patience every day as we journey to raise these children. And I certainly hope that we don't look at other families like the one we saw this evening and start thinking we are better than them.

Because but for the grace of God, we are not!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Strawberries, Popsicles and Haircuts

Samuel has been done with school for a week now (only a week?) but we are still suffering from the lingering effects of school germs. I am not looking forward to next year when two of them are bringing home germs! Samuel got a nasty cold/cough, passed it onto Zakkai who shared it with Ben who lovingly transferred it to me. Ah, the joys of living in an apartment with 4 (and a half) people!

I felt a little better this morning than yesterday so I thought I'd try out a new recipe and brighten up our morning with muffins!

Strawberry and Cream Cheese muffins! They were very good warm but way better cold! I got the recipe from: . The boys loved them! I forgot to put more strawberries on top, instead putting them all inside. Oh well, they were a big hit with everyone:)

We have been visiting our Butterfly Park a lot lately. It is always empty, which is weird, except for the fireman who guards the park diligently. Did I tell you about him? No? He was there hanging outside the fence the first day we went and struck up a conversation after spotting Zakkai peeing behind a tree (Hey, what's a boy to do?!). He told me all about the park and how they are still trying to fix it up and how he spends a lot of time making it safe for kids. He even escorted an unsavory character from the park while we were there last week. Nice!

We finally plowed through the boys' manes to cool them off for the summer. They haven't had haircuts since Florida, I think! As you can see from the picture, it didn't go so well with Samuel, who has always disliked haircuts. I'm not sure what the neighbors think after his reaction.....

I had the boys paint t-shirts today, which they LOVED! It's been far too long since I've done crafty things with my buddies and it felt really good to see how happy they were! Kept them out of trouble for a little while, too:)

And of course, what's a summer day without popsicles?! The red, white and blue popsicles were on sale the other day at the store and my boys adore them. I've always liked them, too, except I've always wished they would put the red on the top because it's my least favorite flavor and I'd like to eat it first....oh well! See these handsome boys with their haircuts!!
Happy 1st Day of Summer!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day

Father's Day became meaningful to me when Ben became a daddy to our boys; first Samuel almost 5 years ago, then Zakkai 3 years ago. To see a big, tough, manly guy holding a tiny 7lb baby, changing his first diaper ever, falling asleep with his son on his chest, comforting them when they cry...

I love to see Ben's tender heart towards our children. His desire to see them make good decisions, to love God, to be good, honorable men someday.

It is good to have a day to celebrate such men. Men who are 100% committed to their families and committed to being the best husbands and fathers they can be.

A day to celebrate the big things and little things that these daddies do. From cutting hair to kissing cuts and scrapes and wiping away tears...

To teaching their children how to play baseball or how to spell words and read..

To celebrate men who spend time reading to their children, tickling and torturing them just to get giggles and smiles.....Men who aren't afraid to discipline and teach their children important lessons and values.

Daddies who set amazing examples for their children to follow and aren't afraid to admit when they make mistakes.

My world, Samuel and Zakkai's world and now our baby's world is a much better, amazing, secure place because of such a daddy. Happy Father's Day to a wonderful daddy! We love you!

Friday, June 18, 2010


I'm pregnant. I know, news flash, right? Bear with me for a minute. Your body changes a lot during pregnancy and very quickly! The first time, you can't wait to have a belly bump and wear those maternity clothes and shout to the whole world that your baby is on the way!! The second or third happens just a little quicker than you'd like:)

I have made a couple comments in pregnancy posts about feeling "Huge" or being a little "chubbier" in person. I apologize if I offended anyone in making those comments. When you are pregnant and your body is changing so fast and your belly is growing about every 5 minutes, you tend to have good days and bad days! I have days where I wake up and think, "Damn! You're a sexy pregnant lady! Watch out!" (except I don't really say the "D" word:)

And there are other days where I wake up and want to throw on a mu-mu (because I have a lot of those lying around, you know) and some scruffy slippers and hide in the house because nothing else really fits anyways. It's just how I feel. And I'd say it's pretty normal to have these good and bad days! (even for non-pregnant women!)

But you know what makes me feel beautiful? My husband. 10 1/2 years of being together, over 7 years of marriage, 3rd child on the way, almost 11 years older than when I met him....and he still thinks I'm beautiful. Probably even more so.

I don't know if this being probably our last baby makes him appreciate this whole process more or what, but I have no doubt in my mind that he loves me! He randomly tells me, usually with a startled expression like it is a new revelation that I look "so beautiful" or what a cute belly I have or my face is so pretty and more! He treats me so tenderly and protects me and the baby so fiercely. He makes me feel really beautiful.

So please, if I have a bad day or even if I make a silly joke (which I am prone to do) and say that I feel like a whale, bear with me! I am changing and growing and carrying a little miracle and adjusting to all that comes with that.

But Ben and God think I'm beautiful. And that's enough for me:)

Thursday, June 17, 2010


Not too much to report today! I highly doubt that you want to hear about all the check-marks I made on my long to-do list that was weighing on me or how Zakkai, who refuses to complete the second half of potty training, pooped in his underwear during naptime, or that we found the missing hardware to the boys' beds!

So pretty much, it was a ho-hum day which was actually nice, considering I haven't had one of those in awhile! Ben took Samuel with him to run errands in HP so I had a little peace and quiet while Z napped....until the poop in his pants episode that you don't want to hear about....

We got railing installed on our front porch this afternoon which makes us feel SO much better about the boys' safety! (and ours, too!) It looks pretty nice and the boys will be happy to be able to walk normally on the porch without us breathing down their necks in fear of an accident.


Samuel is really excited about the idea of having a sister and his face lit up tonight when I told him that if he talked to her a lot, she would know his voice when she is born. He immediately and shyly leaned forward close to my belly and said, "Hi, xxxx (we may possibly...have the baby's name decided!:) my name is Samuel!" He was so cute:) And then Zakkai wanted a turn and said, "Baby, goodnight and Samuel is your mommy and..." And then plopped himself in bed. He is so ridiculous and makes no sense half the time! But it's all part of his charm:)

Lots of good things are happening right now but it is not always easy to adjust to so much change. I miss our friends a lot; friends that were always within in easy reach. I miss being able to text or call up my other mommy friends and go to the playground or parks together. I miss housegroup coming over on Thursday nights. They have been like our family here! While we are excited to build a community here, it isn't easy to do. Change can be exciting and painful all at the same time. Maybe because today was such a "normal" day, I felt a little more lonely than usual. I really hope that I can meet some nice people soon.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Lovable Boys!

The boys are finally adjusting much better to the new place. They still ask occasionally if we are going to move back to the old apt but for the most part seem happy here. At least their behavior has calmed down! On top of adjusting and having a rough week last week, they both came down with nasty colds that they are still trying to get over. Unfortunately, they have passed it on to Ben, who is feeling yucky tonight. I am reallllllllly hoping to avoid it!

We found a park really close to our house today! It is called "Butterfly Park" because they recently planted a butterfly garden and released 300 butterflies into the park! I met a really nice fireman who told me all about how they are fixing the park up and making it great for little kids!

And it's so nice to find a place where we can de-energize a couple of Thomas boys!

Yesterday I sat out on the porch with them, reading library books and watching the squirrels. Then it started to rain and they decided to feel the rain drops:) I didn't pose them for this picture!
I had a happy thought last night that these boys will always be my "buddies." We have been the 3 musketeers these past few years as we travel out and about running errands and living life together (I am talking about daytime when B is working! He is our musketeer, too, don't worry:) They are sweet and wild, ornery and mild, giggly and just plain enjoyable!

When they aren't fighting, that is....

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Baby Girl Thomas! She was very coy the whole time, crossing her legs and spinning around until the end. Samuel kept saying, "Uncross your legs, baby!" Everything looks great which makes me so thankful! That is what I really wanted today.

Baby possibly sucking her thumb!

Beautiful arm! She liked to move her hands up by her face.

Look at that beautiful profile!!!

I about fell off the table! I was 99.99% sure it was going to be a boy and was so shocked! I am still having a hard time believing it...

Her whole body; just chillin'! In case you aren't ultrasound savvy~her head is to the right, with her hand by the face again. Then big belly and to the left both her legs bent and CROSSED and up in the air:)

And here's me! 20 weeks today with a half-baked baby! This picture is way too kind for some reason. I swear I am much chubbier in person! Goodness, I like this camera...


*Feel this baby move like crazy, especially at night time. Started feeling her really well just after 15 weeks. She is very active which may or may not be indicative of the future....uh oh! Samuel got to feel her yesterday for the first time and was THRILLED!!

*Feel fantastic! (Other than the random gimpy hip, heartburn and ligament stretching pain. Haha!)

*Definitely look pregnant and not just chubbier. You know, where people glance at your belly and then rapidly away, afraid to ask if you're pregnant or just indulging in too many brownies?!

*Have gained 5 lbs in the past 5 weeks. That is always my least fav part of the dr.'s appts~stepping on the scale! I'm always afraid the nurse will gasp in shock over how much I've gained or something. But it always turns out well:) so far anyways...

*Get asked by the boys why I have to pee so much:) Haha! The bathroom is like my second home.

*Am a little nervous about how hot the summer is going to be. I've never been pregnant through the whole summer, into the heat of late July and August. I am lobbying for the air conditioners to be put in soon. But the air conditioning "ruler" has said no. Sigh.

Happy Day today!!

Staying Girly in a Boy's World?


I'm going to have to change my blog's name because:


More updates later:) I am totally shocked!

Monday, June 14, 2010


Welcome to our new home (that now includes the internet:)! Please ignore the random boxes and messes in the corners, as we still have some work to do!

This is our living room that leads out to the front porch and Ben's office. It has a very warm feel due to the woodwork and is cozy!
Across from the couch is the entertainment center. The door to B's office is to the right. I could not take pictures at this time, as scholarly thoughts were in progress!

Our dining room! It is still strange to carry our food all the way from the kitchen to the table like most people probably do:)

Our room! Our bed with it's lovely summer make-up of...a sheet. Hey, it's humid in Chicago!
Behind the door is B's dresser and to the right is my craft station. I am hoping to start crafting again shortly now that things are settling down:)
The hall way leading to the bathroom, boys' room and kitchen! It is nice and wide and I love it. The boys really like their little hooks:)

The cozy bathroom!

The boys' room with the newly installed bunk beds. The boys love them! Esp Z, who now has to get out of bed and go potty about 4 times a night/morning...

Behind their door.
Bunkbeds and dresser.

The kitchen! It's so nice to have such a big kitchen after working in our "ship's galley" for the past 5 years;)

Bookshelves come in handy, even in a kitchen! My parents worked hard to paint some furniture before they left.

The pantry! Love, love, love, love it! It is still strange to have to go their to collect food items that are normally in cabinets but nice! It was so easy to put away groceries last night!
It's nice to be back blogging again and be able to post pics! School officially ended with a picnic today so I am now thinking of ways to entertain two busy bees. Samuel is ruined with playing by himself now that he has had so much fun in school and he drives me nuts during Z's naptime. See, I like to have this little thing called "quiet time" but that's hard when a little/big boy wants you to drive race cars on the floor for hours!
Anyways, I'm off to make dinner for my crew. The baby's getting hungry:) Speaking of baby....hopefully news tomorrow!