Friday, August 28, 2009

The Invasion (a month late)

About a month ago, in late July, my 2 cousins (on my birth father's side), their husbands, their 4 children (2 each), and my Aunt, came to visit. Yes, all 9 of them stayed here. That makes 14 people, 7 adults and 7 children age 5 and under. We had a great time!!!

Greeting the 2nd set of cousins as they arrived!
Trevor "bonding" with cousin Keith!

5 of the 7 watching TV. I think this was the calmest moment of the whole visit!
Of course having, 14 people in the house requires a lot of seating at meals!

We went downtown and visited the Field Museum. I think everyone had a great time!
Some of the kids were willing to sit with the pirate statue at the museum!

And all of them loved the Dinosaur exhibit

We played some games the last night, including "Left, Right, Center" which started with the kids playing, and ended up with all the adults playing, and Trevor! All the adults kept trying to "let" Trev win, but it's a hard game to rig! And he lost every time...but he still had tons of fun! The next week, we went out and bought our own set of the game and he still loves it, and still hasn't won!
Game night also include Twister (all the kids, big and small!)...

and Jenga!

Getting ready to take a group picture!

The group photo....turned out great!!
It was a great visit, and I can't wait for the next family reunion!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The First Day

We woke up this morning to rain "bucketing down". It was just pouring, and sideways at times. But all that rain, didn't dampen Trevor's spirits for his first day of Kindergarten. It just dampened our shoes as we walked out to wait for the bus!

He was ready with his shoes, coat (for the rain), and backpack 10 minutes before the bus would be here. And after waiting in the house for 5 minutes, he was ready to go outside to wait! Even tho that meant we would be getting soaked.

The bus stop is across the street (since it's just Trevor and our neighbor's son getting on), and the across-the-street neighbor's took pity on us and let us stand in their garage waiting for the bus. THANK YOU!!! Still we had pretty wet feet and legs, but still lots of excitement. Eventually the bus came around the corner, and I walked down the driveway with the three boys-two getting on the bus (T and our neighbor) and Blake who HAD to go with us to the bus stop even tho it was pouring rain!

T about jumped on the bus before she had the doors open, and barely had time to turn around and give me a kiss goodbye! He sat with the neighbor, and waved and waved to me as they drove down the road.

3 hours and 20 minutes later (not that I'm counting y'all!), he was back. And thankfully, the weather was much better!

He came off the bus, happy as a clam, and talking excitedly about his homework (how long will he be excited about it!!!). Blake and Daddy were home and waiting for him. I think Blake was really missing him,as he clung to his side for the next hour of the day!

I eventually got some details out of him about their day, but not much (typical Trevor). What he did tell me: they sang the "5 little ducks" song that they sang last year at preschool, they learned where the bathroom's are, he sits at a table near the teacher's desk with 2 girls and another boy but he doesn't know their names, they had a snack and then got to play with toys!

Later in the afternoon, he did his homework, with no help!

Friday was day two, and he was just as excited! The weather was MUCH better, so I got some good shots of waiting for the bus and getting on!

Saturday, August 15, 2009


I call "home" pretty regularly to chat with my Mom and update her on myself and the grandkids, but my Dad is not much of a phone person. Since I left home for college a decade and a half ago, I've talked to my Dad less and less. He'll get on the phone for a few minutes, and say hello, but not much more. For a long time, I thought this would really put a cramp in our relationship and that made me sad (especially since in my mind, I was a "Daddy's girl" growing up). But tonight, as I made dinner, I realized that's not really true.

Tonight for dinner, I chopped up a home-grown cucumber and three home-grown tomatoes. For all the years I can remember of my childhood (in fact, it's still there), my Dad had a garden out in the backyard, with tomatoes, and cukes, and beans. Maybe there were other things, but those are the ones I remember. By this time of year, every dinner my Dad cooked (which was many nights of the week) came with a home grown tomato on the side, sliced, cut in half, and slathered in mayo and pepper. Maybe not so healthy (with the mayo), but VERY yummy!!
Just recently I got a postcard from my Dad, as he and my Mother vacationed in Wales. In the postcard, he reminisced about a previous trip that the four of us (my parents, brother, and I) made to the same place. A trip that is now, he KINDLY pointed out, more than 1/2 my life ago! He remembered and referenced little details that I couldn't have told you before reading his postcard, but now remember clear as day, thanks to him.

Randomly during the years I've been living far from my parents (about 800 miles to be exact), I'll get an envelope marked with my Dad's distinctive handwriting. In the envelope are random newspaper articles that may have something to do with someone I went to high school with, a place that we used to go when I was a kid, or one of my hobbies (Monopoly games for instance). Each time, there are notes and comments written on these articles, and thought provoking questions, letting me know exactly what was on Dad's mind when he saved these for me. Many of those articles are upstairs in my file cabinet. On occasion, I flip through it and re-read them.

In the last year, I've learned that each Saturday morning Dad catches up on my blog. He won't comment online, but instead, when the mood strikes him, he sends me an email with his insights, witty comments, criticism, or other feedback. Every one of those emails has been saved, and the comments within taken to heart and seriously considered.
When I hear certain key words, I instantly think of Dad. What are those key words? Diabetes, photosynthesis, and lactic acid. Yup, those words make me think of Dad. See, dear old Dad was a university professor who taught plant bio-chemistry. When I really upset him, or really misbehaved, my punishment was a lecture. I spent a "grueling" hour learning about diabetes, and a seperate one learning about lactic acid. I remember the lectures, but not the offense for which I was punished!! And a few weeks ago, on a hike in a forest preserve with the kids, we saw a pond full of lemna. Let me tell you, I was tearing up just looking at them!

So tonight, as I ate my cukes and tomatoes, I thought of dear old Dad. I'm sure next Saturday when he reads this, some of it will get to him, but he'll probably never let me know that. That's just how dear old Dad is. But when I get an email or an envelope full of newspaper articles, I'll know he was thinking of me.... And that's what matters!

Isabelle - Mile Marker 4

Izzy's accomplishments:

Rolls from back to front consistently, and then continues from her front to her back occasionally.

As much as she likes rolling, she much prefers her new skill: squealing! She loves to chat, and usually wants someone to look at while she's talking!

Is very good at holding her head up, likes to sit (with help) and LOVES to stand (with help). So she loves her Excersaucer to stand up in and look around at her brothers, and her Bumbo seat.

Likes to chew on her thumb, and accompanying many as she can fit in her mouth. But she prefers to chew on daddy's knuckles whenever they are available (she doesn't care for my fingers it seems!).
Met her great-grandfather "Jackpot" for the first time.

Gets bored of being in the same room after a while. She'll whine and cry inconsolably until you go to another room, and then she's happy as a clam!

She loves bathtime!

She's growing still, about 13 pounds I'd guess. Exact numbers to come on Wednesday at her 4-month check up. She's consistently sleeping 10-11 hours at night, and waking only once (at 3 am) to eat which is just fine with me. No table food until she's 6 months, but she does seem to be getting more tolerant of me having dairy (no visible rash 5 days after a dinner with cheese and sour cream in it!!).

Monday, August 10, 2009

Lessons Learned Camping

Last Wednesday, we left for a 5 day camping trip. We headed north to Door County, and our first camping trip with a baby. We camped last year and the year before with both boys, but never with a baby. In the last few weeks, I have heard ALL kinds of "advice" (and other stuff) about camping with a baby. Most of it goes like this, "What? Are you crazy? Why would you go camping with a baby??!?!?!?".

Well, here are my lessons learned from this years trip:

You can fit 3 kids, and all the camping stuff for 5 people for 4 days in a Toyota Sienna.

You will forget at least 5 things, and have to go back (15 minutes from home) for at least one of them because you CAN'T live without it!

A former boy scout is great at teaching his boys how to put up a tent, and makes some yummy food too!

Putting two boys in the same tent means no one gets to sleep for hours and hours! So Daddy had one boy in the little tent, and I had the other boy and izzy in the big tent. The boys each spent 2 nights with one of us and then traded to be with the other so that no one got too upset!

A 5-year-old is always willing to search for more wood for the fire, as long as he thinks he'll get to throw it in the fire, or cook a marshmallow on that fire.

A recently potty trained 3 year old, will revert right back to going potty in his pants, for no apparent reason!Sometimes it's hard to locate your 3 and 5 year old children, but your 4 month old is always right where you put her!

A 5-year-old who hasn't napped in 2 years, will decide to "rest" in the tent and sleeping bag to "stay warm" and take a 2 hour nap!!

Anything cooked on the fire tastes better than the same thing cooked at home in the microwave (popcorn, hot dogs, pancakes, bacon, etc).

A 3-year-old meltdown seems quieter in the forest, than it does in say a coffee shop or your own living room! But it requires just as much patience from the parent involved, to end it!

Camping with an almost 4-month old is WAY easier, than camping with two boys ages 3.5 and 5!!! Except when she cries inconsolably for 30 minutes on a hike!
5 days of disposable diapers (even eco-friendly compostable ones) lead to diaper rash, that is easily cleared up by 2 days back in cloth diapers! I love Izzy's cloth diapes, and the wonderful things they let me avoid!! (No pictures for this lesson!)

It was well worth it and I'll do it again next year!