Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A trip down memory lane...and toilets.

 Today was quite the crazy day! I had my three kiddos plus the baby, no car and workers coming in and out of the house to fix a leak. Oh and our adorable daughter threw many horrible, stereotypical two-year old tantrums. So fun!

I ask you, how someone so cute could be so strong-willed and so sweet all at the same time?! Yesterday morning, the boys were still super tired from their late night and Eliana was NOT, so when she got up at 6:30 yelling for us, as she usually does, I rescued her and brought her downstairs. I decided it would be fun to take a walk down memory lane while entertaining her!

So I dug out my precious box of childhood memories from the storage closet in the basement and brought it up to share. Not only do I have some porcelain dolls, my American Girl's doll and a special stuffed animal but I have BARBIES! Oh yes, I saved some of my awesome Barbies from the 80's and 90's, complete with really awesome 80's outfits and accessories like high tops and picks for their hair. So cool!

She had a lot of fun playing with the baby Barbies, while I did some much-needed hair-brushing and outfit changing. I saved some of the clothes my mom made, usually prairie dresses, and even found a few clothes that I must have attempted to make, crooked seams and all:) My sister and I spent literally hours every single day playing Barbies and I have the greatest memories of that. I hope Eliana will enjoy them as much as I did when she gets a little older!

Baby Anna is a Cubs fan, too, now:)

This morning, I spent a few minutes chatting with my mom and she could tell that some of my children were slightly cagey and she had the brilliant idea of a making a bike wash. The seed was planted when I caught the boys slipping in and out of the door with cups of water to "wash" their bike wheels.

So I set out two buckets of soapy water and several old rags and Baby C and I sat just inside the door watching my three shine up their bikes. Pretty soon the neighbor kids were joining in:) An easy, free and fun summer activity!

When I was lounging around the other night while all my boys were gone, the doorbell rang and by the time I got to it, no one was there. I heard some pounding in the basement shortly after which led me to investigate and there I found our maintenance guy standing under a gaping hole in the basement ceiling. (the common basement area just outside of our private basement.) He confirmed that he was the doorbell ringer and that we had a leak possibly coming from our downstairs toilet. A quick check showed that there was no visible water coming from our toilet so he would have to come back to check it out. He left a trash can underneath to catch all the drips and falling plaster.

Today he and his helper came and were in and out for hours trying to discover the exact source of this sneaky leak that was damaging the floor and ceiling. They were about to give up and replace the whole bathroom (which it needs!) when they finally found it. Some gasket or another that was leaking out of the back of the toilet down underneath and into the floor. Leading to a nasty, soggy, buggy mess.

So, out went our old toilet that has caused us much hassle for a long time now, and in went a brand-new one! The boys were thrilled to discover that it doesn't run any more and we don't have to jiggle the handle after every flush! It's the simple pleasures in life, right? ;) The new floor will come at a later date but for now, we're just glad they found the source of the leak.

And one more picture of our baseball crew!!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Cubs n' Laundry

Well, the Cubs didn't win but the boys had such a great time! They didn't get home until after 11pm!! Ben said they fell asleep almost as soon as they got in the car. They were pretty groggy this morning but happy:) Our friend bought them ice cream in little cubs hats (I'll have to take a pic) so that was a really special treat!

Today Samuel had his 8 year check-up. He is wonderfully healthy, skinny and tall:) I guess he's only about 25% for weight and the dr asked like three times if he ate well. Seriously. These boys eat SO much; I have no idea how we'll feed them when they're teenagers!! She was glad that I made an eye appt for him to check his prescription since he's struggled with headaches so much this month. Everything else checked out fine so we are assuming it is his eyes or possibly stress. It has honestly been a really difficult three months and I am not surprised at all at the thought of Samuel picking up on that. He takes after me, poor kid!!

I am only popping in to say hello! I just got back from Zumba and there are 4 loads of laundry on my bed begging to be folded before I can get some rest for my busy day tomorrow. I am wish now for a laundry fairy.....:)

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Girl's Night!

Miss Eliana and I have had a quiet girlie night together because....

Our boys are off to a Cubs game! A good friend of ours called Ben on Friday to say he had extra tickets and wanted to share with Ben and the boys! So I packed them a dinner and sent them off to enjoy their boys' night:) This is a first for Zakkai! Ben and Samuel got to go to a Cubs/Reds game a couple of years ago and Samuel still has the ticket saved from that special memory. I am so happy for these guys and hope they're having a great time!

Meanwhile, Miss E and I took a leisurely walk to the park, with Eliana's play picnic basket in hand, and played for awhile. She got very serious and upset when she saw a little girl come over to inspect her toy but other than that, had a very good time. We met another little girl, a couple months older, who had glasses, too! Her glasses were a very stylish bright red:) We've said that Eliana can pick out her next pair by herself but I'm hoping she won't pick such a bright color!

We walked home, or rather, I carried the Princess home, and then we had a quiet dinner, a bath and a fun story. Now I'm sitting here in the silence wondering what to do with myself!

I'm leaning towards quilting and watching a Shirley Temple movie....Choices, choices:)

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Peaches N' Cream!

 Everyone here is baffled by the October-like weather. 60s and low 70s at the end of July?? Unheard of! Usually we are trapped inside by extreme temperatures, racking up air conditioning bills and dreaming of popsicles!

We took a really long walk this afternoon and it was just perfect out. The boys rode their scooters and we convinced a tired, under-napped Missy Girl to ride in her stroller. We've been thinking that it would be so fun to save up for bikes and go on family bike rides. My bike got stolen right after we moved to Chicago and we haven't had one since. I can just picture Ben riding in front with Eliana in a little attached seat, the boys in the middle on their bikes and me being the caboose. I guess they say you never forget how to ride a bike. I wonder if that's true....:)

Zakkai got out his guitar recently and it's been a big hit around here! Samuel wants Ben to teach him how to play. This poor guitar only has 2 strings left on it but Ben can still use it to play some mean blues! Eliana decided to sit down right by Ben as he was playing and strum on "her" guitar:) (everything that she touches is "hers." think we should nip that in the bud?)

The Blues Master:)

Samuel got a B&N gift card in the mail this week for his b-day so I took the boys this afternoon. Samuel chose a balloon animal making kit and a space book. This was our first attempt at a giraffe! Don't laugh. I know it looks a little like a Dachshund and a Giraffe mix but it's not a bad start, eh? Samuel just loves making things like this. His last thing he saved up for was an Origami set, which he just loves. I admit, I think it's fun, too!

And last but not least, we decided to use some of our fresh peaches to make peach ice cream this weekend! Wow. It was SOOO good! Homemade ice cream rocks. It is so much fresher and richer so less of it satisfies you. This has to be some of the best I've made yet. Tonight, the flavor was even better, which was hard to believe was possible! We are thinking of making a new flavor of ice cream each weekend for our treat. What flavor do you think we should try next?

Friday, July 26, 2013

Loving The Unlovable.

I had a tough day today. It started out fine. We got a call yesterday that the boys won raffle ticket prizes from their library summer reading program so I packed up all 4 kiddos and we walked down to the library. Samuel won a stencil set and Z won a t-shirt and patch to sew on. He's already stained the t-shirt but he's still happy so who cares, right?

Then everything went downhill during naptime. Some of the boys' neighbor friends, a brother and sister, had some cousins over. When the boys saw them out playing, they ran over only to be told that they only wanted family time and didn't want to play with anyone else. Okay, fine. No problem. The boys came in to tell me and I said I was sorry that they were sad but they could just play around our house. I wish that had been the end of the story.

The neighbor kids (the brother and sister and their two cousins) took over the whole yard. I'm talking a wild, screaming game of tag around the front and back of our apartment (they live in the building across from the front of our house but they chose to play around our building) and it was kind of cruel, I thought, to tell our boys that they couldn't play with them but then to take up all the play space and not even by their own building!

So. They ran by and happened to pause by our back door and I stepped out and said to the brother  (who is 12 and a nice kid), "Hey, _ , I know you guys are having family time and that's great but our boys want to play outside, too, and if you guys don't want them to join, do you think maybe you could play on the other side of the building? Then everyone has play space and my boys won't upset your mom. Thanks!" He said okay and walked away.

Okay, I should explain that their mother, whom we have not have had a lot of contact with other than "Hello" and "how are you", has yelled at our boys a few times for playing in front of her apartment and has sent them inside to me in tears.  And she sits on her front porch when all the kids are around and has screaming cussing conversations on the phone, which my boys overhear. Yea. And oh yeah, she got mad when our boys and another neighbor build a worm house in the grass near her apartment a couple months ago and threw the worms all over our porch.

Just some background info.

I was very pleasant when talking to the brother but I noticed one of the older cousins run off and I had a sudden unpleasant premonition of trouble. I ran to the window in the front of the house and saw and overheard the girl gesturing towards our house angrily and lying about what happened. Oh yes, I heard her. I thought I should probably run over and explain what happened so the mother would know I hadn't just yelled at her kids or something.

I don't think I'm a very threatening person. I came over and stood at a distance and very politely said, "Hi! I just wanted to you let you know what just happened." and I explained really quickly. She turned to me and it was like laser beams of death were shooting out at me. She opened her mouth and I almost took a physical step back (and I was already about 10 ft away) because of the venom spewing out of her. She said, "Do you own this place? Is this your yard? Are you telling MY kids where they can play? Are you restricting where MY kids can play?!" I won't even repeat most of what she said because she was so incredibly angry and I was thinking in my head, "What the heck is happening here? Am I in the twilight zone? Am I making an enemy? How do I get out of this and still be loving and kind and not make this worse?" She spewed so much stuff at me, it was crazy. She kept contradicting herself, saying all the kids could play wherever they wanted (meaning her kids) and yet she kept pointing out patches of bald grass in front of her house, saying the kids (my kids) should go play by our house and not ruin "her" grass and play by her house. What??

She brought up the worm incident and that's when I started to get a little ticked, although I kept my voice deliberately really calm. She ranted about how angry she was that she had to work so many days and hours (I have no idea what this had to do with anything) and then she comes out and there are 300 worms (there were around 20) in the grass in front of her apartment (it is a strip of grass that runs between two buildings and it DOES NOT BELONG TO ANYONE EXCEPT THE LANDLORDS. Just thought I'd make that clear.) And she raved about how angry it made her. I said, "They were just playing and you threw the worms all over our porch? That was.. rude." (keep in mind and I'm not kidding, my voice was gentle even though I was frustrated.)  She retorted, "You would've done the same thing, too!" I shook my head in disbelief and said, "No, I wouldn't actually. I would never throw worms on someone's porch." And she had the audacity to argue with me that I would and a whole bunch more nonsense.

That's when I realized things weren't adding up here. Why was this woman, with whom I've never had a decent conversation in my life, so incredibly angry?? So I asked her. I backed down and looked at her and said, "Why are you so angry with me?" She said, "ANGRY? You don't know me! If I was angry, I'd be cussing at you and you'd KNOW I was angry! You don't know me and now I'm an angry person." And she turned away and started texting and muttering to herself.

I said, "I just came over to explain what happened. I didn't mean to cause a problem. I'm really sorry." And she said, "I am DONE with this conversation! I am done!" and turned her back on me. I apologized again and walked away. And then burst into tears and barely made it into the house before I started sobbing.

I don't like confrontation. I don't like when people are rude and angry for no reason. I don't like being yelled at. I really don't like walking away feeling like the bad guy when I was just trying to stick up for my kids and explain what was going on. Was it too much to ask for my boys to have a little space to play in our yard?

I called Ben on the phone, so upset I could barely talk and he calmed me down. But the sad tears came a little while later when my boys came up to me with tear-filled eyes after asking these neighbor kids if tomorrow would be a good day to play, only to be told that their mother had banned them from ever being friends with or playing with our boys again. Really??  You're going to use your kids to hurt my kids? Because you're mad at me?? Really??

Sometimes being a parent stinks. Sometimes doing the right thing stinks. Sometimes people stink. I told my boys that none of this was their fault. They didn't do anything wrong and that the kids' mother was an angry person and didn't deal with things well and we were just going to stay away from playing in front of their apartment to keep the peace. And we will try to love and be kind. (even though it might be REALLY hard!)

So, I ask you, to please pray for me. I am so upset over this. I never ever wanted to create an enemy or cause some huge problem. I didn't want my boys to be hurt. And I'm not sure how to fix this situation or if it even can be fixed. I just know I have to keep praying to love this angry woman and forgive her and figure out how to be kind even though I'm alternately hurt and sad and angry. Her words just keep running through my mind and I keep wondering if I should have handled it differently. I really think that I had the right to ask for my boys to be able to play outside. I was nice about it. I've never ever been rude to her kids and I hope I never will be, despite my feelings about what happened.

Loving people is really hard sometimes. Especially when they aren't very lovable. But I guess that's what being Christ-like is all about right? Loving people, like He loves us, even when they aren't lovable. Ouch.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Three Little Sheep

We started our Thursday bright and early with the farmer's market again. This week, thankfully, it was cool out for our early morning walk, rather than stifling! We are loving this weather!

And we love this sweet girl, too! Isn't she pretty?

While the boys were out playing and enjoying the beautiful, cooler sunshine-y day, Eliana got herself all spiffied up and told me she was going to kindergarten! She went over to the door, all packed up and said she was ready to go:)

Then she changed it to preschool. Oh, I hate the thought of sending her off to preschool! It would be like admitting that she's growing up and I'm not ready to do that:) Maybe next year...

Tonight, I got my family all set up with dinner and with my gracious hubby's support, skipped out to a Cardio Boxing class at the Y! (I know, me, boxing??) I have been wanting to pick up another class for awhile but it's so hard with our schedule being so busy, Ben not getting home til late some nights or having no car, etc. I have at least kept up with my Zumba once a week but I got brave tonight and went to this new class, which a fellow Zumba goer has been telling me about.

It was awesome! Crazy. Hard. Intense. Non-stop. And very fun! It was seriously one of the toughest workouts I've done. One whole hour of non-stop boxing, sparring, jogging, etc. Wow. I don't think I've sweated so much...ever! Er, I mean "glowed." ;)  I must be crazy because I am really hoping to go back again next week! It amazes me, despite how tiring exercising is, how much it energizes me.

We'll see if I feel the same way once the soreness sets in:)

And the best part? I came home to three squeaky clean children, ready for bed. My boy sheep had even been shorn! They look so handsome when they get their shaggy fur cut off:) I will have to wrangle them down for a picture tomorrow. We'll see if Samuel cooperates since he claims his hair is too short.

I'm off to check on my three little sheep before I go to bed....

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Busy Days!

It was one of our busy days today! We had Baby C today and we all headed out for MOPS Bible study, which takes some doing with 4 kids! My boys took such good care of Eliana. When I came to pick them up from the classroom, the boys were standing on each side of her, holding her hands. Such a sweet picture:)

I was very late getting dinner on the table tonight so I let the kiddos get in their jammies/and or bathed and then watch a cartoon while they were waiting. They chose "Bugs Bunny," which we got from the library the other day. They just love it so much! I told them it was what I used to watch when I was a kid. Cartoons are so weird these days!

The nice thing about feeding kids is when I am lacking time to prepare an elaborate meal, they are thrilled with frozen veggies and noodles:) For B and I, I made up a quick salad with leftover grilled BBQ'd chicken from last night, some cut off corn on the cob (also from last night), cucumbers, egg and avocado on lettuce. Easy and delicious! (the goal motto of my life:)

I got these awesome cards from a toy store awhile ago that I keep in my purse for emergency distractions in public (a must with kids!). They are faces and scenes that the kids can fill in or decorate with a dry-erase marker. You wipe them clean and they are ready for use again! I love them.

I took a picture of this card because it was Eliana's first attempt at drawing faces! I was so impressed with her drawing skills! (even if they look a bit like zombies:) The boys were no where near as skilled with coloring and drawing at 2 years old. It's neat to watch kids' progression of drawing and according to my mom, you can tell a lot about kid's emotional development and sense of self through their drawings. I'm pretty sure Eliana is confident in her self-worth:)

The kiddos and I made a quick trip to Goodwill yesterday and scored an almost brand-new bread machine for $3.75! I decided it was worth checking it out since it was so cheap and made our first loaf of bread today. It turned out pretty good! It will take some getting used to since I loved my old bread machine so much. But beggars can't be choosers and that was too good of a deal to pass up!

The weather has been absolutely gorgeous the past couple of days!! It has been in the 70s and cool enough to open the windows and enjoy fresh air. I really wish it would last! We also realized that school starts FOUR weeks from today. Yikes! I cannot believe how fast this summer has flown. It has been so busy and full. Part of me is glad that school will start because it is nice to have routine and structure to our days but part of me is sad. The boys have SO much fun spending hours playing outside with friends and it's nice to have them around talking and giving extra hugs. Not to mention, playing with Eliana, who just thrives off of their company. I wouldn't be surprised if she cried the first few days of school again, like she did last year. I may shed a tear or two myself...

Monday, July 22, 2013

Summer Doings

 We've had a "sort-of" break from the terrible heat the past couple of days (as in below 90 degrees but still hot!). This morning, the kiddos and I (being car-less) headed out on a walk to our little downtown area to hit (not rob) the bank and the library. Unbeknownst to me, I got interviewed by a reporter on the way! Yeah, after five minutes of me being questioned about some possible new land developments nearby, I started to get curious about what the guy was writing down in his notebook so furiously....

So I questioned him for a change and he admitted that he was a reporter for the Tribune! I'm really savvy, right? ;)

Anyways, we had a nice, busy morning. I let each of the kiddos pick out 4 books because I had to carry them all the way home in my backpack and that gets heavy fast! I am so thankful that all three love to read so much!

Early on in our marriage, Ben and I bought this 7-in-1 game set and we pulled it out last week for the infamous chess-crushing game (oh, I'm sorry, did I say that outloud??) and the boys have gotten into playing some of the game! We've had several rousing rounds of Chinese checkers (I used to play with my sister a lot!) and Checkers. Zakkai and I played Checkers this morning during breakfast and he was surprisingly good! It won't be long before he's crushing me....

Here's my Moose helping me bake cookies on Saturday! It was her first time helping me cook and she loved it! I hope she loves to cook as much as I do someday.

Speaking of baking....we had to use up our fresh farmer's market peaches and what better way than a Peach Cream Pie! Mmmm....

Here is the cookie recipe I promised you that I got off of pinterest, my new favorite place for recipes! These cookies were SO good and very easy!  Coconut Sugar Cookies. If you like coconut at all, you will love these. They were best fresh, the first day. Will definitely be making again!

Tonight, I was tucking my sweet girl in bed (for the second time) and she started telling me something that Samuel helped her with earlier in the day. She loves to tell me things when I lay her down now! I said, "Samuel is a good big brother. He takes care of you." She smiled and said, "Yeah. And Zakkai takes care of Daddy."

I said, "Oh, he does?" She said, "Yeah, and I take care of you!" She paused and added, "I will take good care of you, okay? You are so cute, Mommy!" Precious:)

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Block Party!!

We just successfully pulled off our very first neighbor block party!! Ben started reading my brother-in-law's book, "The Art of Neighboring" and it really convinced him that we needed to reach out to our neighbors and build a community with them. I'm not sure if our neighborhood is like others, but some neighbors give a quick wave or hello and scurry off to their car and house and you never learn each other's names or any else of importance about each other. And the rest don't make eye contact or go through the back of their houses so you never talk at all.

We live in a row of 5 townhouses (4 in each row) and 3 are owned by our landlords. At first we were just going to have the party for our 3 buildings but them we scrapped that and opened it up to all 5, especially since a lot of the kids in the other buildings come over and play with our gang.

I was kind of dreading the whole thing because it's really uncomfortable to do something like this. It takes you outside of your comfort zone and forces to talk with (gasp!) people you don't know well! But Ben got on board with our neighbors across from us, whom we get along with really well, and they were excited about it, too and offered to use their behemoth grill, which was really nice. Especially since our grill is teeny tiny and dinky:)

Anyways, it went GREAT! A lot of people did not come, which we kind of expected (because who likes to come outside of their comfort zone??!!) but we had a great time with the people who did come. We got to officially meet some neighbors and got to know some that we chat with regularly even better! It was hot and not very shady for awhile but we made do and then as the afternoon wore on and the shade became better, we set out a nice big circle of chairs in some parking spaces and talked and laughed for hours! (seriously, this whole thing went on for SIX hours!)

All the kids were so excited about the whole thing and were out hours before hand, making signs and taping them all over the buildings. The signs were really cute, too! They all decided to put on a skateboarding/scooter show and show off their moves:) Eliana had a great time, chowing down on endless pieces of watermelon and walking around with her umbrella for shade. She didn't nap so I snuck inside and gave her a quick bath a little after 5pm (to wash off all the watermelon juice:). She kept crying, "I wanna go back to the bwock party!" But her eyes were almost completely closed by the time I tucked her in. She'll never know she missed out on the last 2 hours! She's too busy dreaming of hot dogs, kites (which one of our neighbors brought for the kids!) and watermelon.

So now we are all happily worn out from the prep, sun, and socializing and ready for bed. It was a great day!

Tomorrow I'll share an awesome new cookie recipe I made for today!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

A Historical Moment...

 I am hereby stating for the record (please write this down) that I....(are you ready?) beat Ben at chess only moments ago. I know! It's a miracle! I may or may not have sworn to never ever in my entire life play chess with him ever again since he crushes me every single time with his annoyingly logical, strategic brain.

However, due to my unending love for him, I agreed to play with him tonight. True love, I tell you. True love!

This morning, I got all my kiddos dressed and out of the house by 7:15am so that we could beat the heat and run to our local farmer's market before sweet Baby Caleb came over. They were all munching on dry cereal the whole way; except for Samuel who insisted on trying to eat a bowl with milk. While walking.

And after all that....a tiny bug ended up in his milk so he had to toss it out at the end. What a goose!

We were sweating by the time we reached downtown (a 10-15 minute walk) but we enjoyed picking out some fresh peaches, green beans, blueberries and zucchini. There is nothing like fresh fruits and veggies!! SO much better that coming all packaged and bruised from the store. We got home just in time to welcome the baby:)

Eliana pulled out two of her little Barbie dolls (one was a gift from my Gma and the other was mine) and started playing with them! I haven't seen her interact with dolls like that before but her imagination has really been coming out lately!

The baby kept saying, "I want my mommy!" Just like Eliana says in real life:) She is such a funny girl. She insists on being called "Eli-YANA" or a baby doggie. We have so many nicknames for her but she keeps correcting us. We might say, "Hey, Little Sugar Plum!" and she immediately says, "I'm NOT a sugar plum! I'm Eli-YANA!"
And lately, when Ben says, "Are you our baby doggie (at her insistence:)?" She will say, "I'm MAMA'S baby doggie!" Man, what are we going to do with this girl??!!
Samuel has continued to have frequent headaches and we are thinking he needs to get his eyes checked again. He says his head feels better when he wears his glasses. Poor kid stood no chance with two "blind" parents!
Zakkai is still ridiculous and cute;) He has really been into his cash register and making everybody buy things at his store. He's an awful store keeper, too! He'll charge over $4,000 for some tiny thing like a piece of cheese or my phone or something. Then if we say we don't have enough money, he will tell us to buy some more money with our money! He also gives a lot of things away for free:)
I'm off to bed to rest up for another busy day tomorrow..

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Hot, humid and happy!

 Today was a much better day! I admit, I do not usually look forward to grocery shopping with all three kiddos in tow but they were very well behaved today. We accomplished two grocery stores, a gas tank fill up and stopping to get our city sticker all in 2 hours. Not bad!

Later Samuel said, "Mommy, have we been really good today?" I said, "definitely!" A relief:)

What isn't a relief is the very hot, humid weather! We decided to break out Little Miss's baby pool today. 84 bucket trips later, she was cooling off on the back porch after nap. She was very excited to get her bathing suit on and splash around!

As you can see:)

And after Mr Z finished cleaning up his share of their atrociously messy room (read: I threatened to go in with a trash bag and throw away any toys and "treasures" left on the floor by bedtime!), he joined his little sis. He has always loved bathtime with her and just sitting and filling up cups and bottles, whereas Samuel outgrew that awhile ago.

I snuck my feet in a few times because it was so tempting! Eliana has already decided she is wearing her pink bathing suit tomorrow...

Tonight, I put her to bed and raced to get ready for Zumba and I heard her calling for me. "Mommy! Mommy, I need to talk to you! Mommy!"

So I went in there to find her sitting up (undoing all the tucking in I already did, of course;) and I asked her what she needed. She mumbled something really softly and I couldn't hear her at first and then she said, "I jis' missed you a wittle bit, Mommy."

Could she be any sweeter?!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Crazy children and Art projects!

What a day! Remember those loony toons cartoons where at the end one of the cartoon characters ran away as fast and far as they could and disappeared into the distance?

That's exactly what I wanted to do today! It was one of the summer days that I was dreading. Hot. Humid. No car. Stuck inside. Crazy children.

Need I say more?

We started out the morning with the Thomas Jr band. Waaaayyy too early for keyboards (at full volume when Z plays!), drums, harmonica's and singing. Oy.

Then I tried to talk to one of my friends for a few minutes on the phone and this happened. It ended in screaming, yelling, injury and me sprouting a few gray hairs. The boys weren't able to stay outside for too long because it was pretty hot so they ended up inside building a "submarine" on the floor. Then one thing led to another (cagey child + cagey child = disaster waiting to happen...) and the boys were kicking each other and yelling and Z ended up with a bruised cheek, Samuel got banished to his room and Eliana was in tears over how awful they were acting.

I almost lost it right then and there. Enter deep breaths and prayers.

He may be cute and sweet but he is also a bit of a troublemaker when it comes to his brother! The boys were sentenced to basement time during Eliana's nap so I could recuperate some of my sanity and their noise could be contained somewhat. At lunch time, I pulled on of my slips out of my activity jar that I put together right before school ended and we decided to do an art project after naptime.

Whew! The afternoon was saved with only one tiny piece of paper...

The nice thing about art is you can use anything around your house! I did a quick pinterest search for ideas and grabbed some paper plates and paint and away we went!

The boys stripped their shirts off once they started getting paint on them. Thank goodness for washable paint!

I love that they still love to do projects even though they are getting so "Old." haha;)

We made little fish tanks! First they painted their paper plate plates a bluish-green color for the water. Then they glued cheerios onto the bottom for the rocks. Some green tissue paper strips became the seaweed and they decorated their cardboard fish with tissue paper, too. Pretty cute! This is Eliana's masterpiece. She LOVES to do art!

I said they could eat any cheerios they didn't use:)

This is Samuel's fish. He preferred the "minimalist" approach:)

And this is Mr Z's, with the big blobs of glue! He prefers the "maximalist" approach:)

It really helped our afternoon calm down (which was very good for my sanity!) and I had three happy kiddos on my hands. Then while I made dinner, they had "band practice" and did some crazy dancing to keyboard music.

I hope tomorrow is a little calmer....

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Day Trip!

 Five years ago, Ben and I got a chance to go away together for the weekend! Wait, now that I think about it, that was the last time......sad! Anyways, we went to Madison, WI and stayed at a really cute bed and breakfast and spent time at the famous Dane County Farmer's Market. Whoa. Coolest farmer's market ever!

It's a few blocks long and has over 150 vendors. We had such a great time and I have wanted to go back so bad but it has never worked out. Yesterday, we decided to make the little drive up there because not only was there the farmer's market (although it was much smaller yesterday), there was also an art fair (which made the market smaller!) We headed out at 6am and made a pretty drive up there!

It was a really beautiful day. Not too hot at first, although that changed around lunch time! We found a few goodies; some cheese curds (Ben's choice and very strange and squeaky!), yellow green beans, cherries and cheese bread. Oh, the cheese bread. Wow. It was amazing! We headed over to some shade and we all shared a little bite of our treats:) Isn't this the cutest picture of my favorite people in the whole world?!

We walked through the art fair, which was huge, and then headed up to a place where we could look out on one of the nearby lakes.

So beautiful! There were lots of boats on the water, due to the beautiful weather. Eliana said, "Aw, look at the boats. They're so cute!" She thinks everything is cute...

This was a shot of Madison's capital building from the lake. Ben and I went inside last time we were here and it's very pretty!

And all the walking around and the sunshine made this little cutie sleepy! She was awake one minute and sacked out the next;) None of the noise phased her during her nap.

Some of the artist's tents. There were a lot of great artists; beautiful paintings and amazing photography. There were also some really strange things, too, but I think that comes with the territory:)

And before we headed back home, we stopped at a very cool restaurant we remembered from our time here way back when. Ella's Deli. We didn't eat here but enjoyed a little ice cream cone:) Too expensive to eat out with 5 of us!!

The outside has this fun merry-go-round and the inside is filled with old-fashioned toys and trains in the tables, hanging from the ceiling and walls. It's a really neat place!

One last shot before we headed home with our tired crew! Eliana was totally revived by her stroller nap and talked the entire way home. Meanwhile, her bros totally sacked out and were lost to the world:) I may or may not have joined them for a little bit! We were home by dinner time and thanks to some earlier planning, we had leftover homemade pizza from Friday night all ready so we didn't have to cook a thing! It was a fun day together.

Samuel spent a lot of time inside today because a) it is starting to get really hot and humid and b) he had a bad headache all day. He doesn't like for me to take his picture but he let me take this one AND he said he liked it! Woohoo! He's such a handsome boy:)

And for dinner, I cooked up our fresh yellow green beans with a little oil and garlic. Delicious! There isn't one green bean left:)

Hope you had a great weekend!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Summer fun!

 Yesterday, we took advantage in the break in humidity to go to the park for a bit! Eliana insisted on bringing Baby Anna, who took her first rides on the slide:) It can be hard to take a walk with everyone because Eliana (who is used to being in the stroller) often wants me to hold her, while pushing the baby in his stroller! Samuel has come to my rescue a couple of times, offering to help push the baby. He's a good kid!

Eliana and her baby:)

Wearing her "matching dress" that Mugga made. (although she refuses to let Baby Anna wear hers! go figure...)

Checking to make sure Baby Anna is snuggled up just right;)

Zakkai has been big into playing restaurant with Eliana the past couple of days. Today he pulled down his cash register, which was really a hit! Eliana took advantage of Z being outside to play...



Such a pretty girl! Yesterday afternoon, she went to climb in her pink car and decided to climb over the side that doesn't open....only to have the whole car topple over on top of her:( Oh, the look on her face when I came to rescue her was heartbreaking! And so was the blood running down her chin when I got a good look at her:( She bit her top lip pretty badly and still has a swollen bruised lip today. You can see it hanging down a bit on the top left side.

We decided to sit outside on the porch to wait for Baby C's daddy to come. Samuel, who is now a skateboarding junkie, was shyly showing off moves and Eliana and Zakkai were doctoring up stuffed animals;)

Look at this big kid! He literally disappears for hours a day (don't worry, I keep an eye on him and check!) to practice his moves.

One more "cheese!" to get you through the night;) Tomorrow, we're headed off for a fun little day trip!