Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Summer List {2011 Edition}

Just like last year, we've been brainstorming and "researching" all the fun we want to have this summer. It does mean a bit more to me this year. Even though Drew was only in school for a few hours during the week, it does really feel more like "summer break" this year than it did last year. I guess we're officially in the throes of the school/summer cycle!

There are several ideas on our list that carried over from last year (because they were so much fun, of course!) and there are also a handful of new and exciting things we hope to try.

Here's to Summer 2011!

* Fun Food Fridays

* Craft Wednesdays

* Kinect bowling tournament

* feed the ducks at the pond

* go to the Children's Discovery Museum in Normal, IL

* participate in the library's summer reading program (Drew)

* vacation Bible school

* Tot Soccer & T-Ball (Drew)

* fly a kite

* see Cars 2 in the theater

* go on a little vacation

* picnics at the park

* boating on the lagoon

* send the boys to their grandparents' houses

* backyard water fun

* photo booth fun

* go on a scavenger hunt

* build a fort

* mini golfing

{Of course, other items can be added as the summer progresses...for the sake of the list.} :)

Monday, May 30, 2011

Daddy's Big Day

Today was Daddy's 35th birthday!


We celebrated. All day.

While Dad was sleeping in (which wasn't necessarily a special treat; he gets to do that a lot) ;) Drew informs me that a party isn't a party without balloons.

So we fixed that.

Drew also insisted that we needed to surprise Dad.

So behind the chair we hid...until we jumped out and said

"SURPRISE! In case you forgot, IT'S YOUR BIRTHDAY!"

We gave Daddy a card that basically said "Why would you need anything else when you've got us???"


We gave him some pretty fancy schmancy golf balls (or so I've been told) and also gave him a shopping date with Drew as Drew really wanted to get Daddy a new video game for his birthday - but was stumped as to which one to get. So we'll let Daddy pick.

And because good taste runs in our family...

Brad picked Culver's for his birthday lunch!

An afternoon nap, an evening movie, and a second helping of ice cream in the form of a cookie dough ice cream cake rounded out Daddy's big day.

We're so lucky to have YOU!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Picture of the Day, Week 21

Sunday {5.22.11}
My latest project was inspired by my grandmother's old jewelry and this post HERE by Just a Girl. I turned this jewelry (most of which was quite "out of style" (*ahem*) and no one in my family cared to wear it) into magnets. What a fun way to do something with it that is useful and pretty.

Monday {5.23.11}
We spent the morning outside doing a bit of yard work and cleaning. The boys "helped" me wash down the patio and clean up their toys. It was definitely a remove-your-shoes-before-entering-the-house experience...and Reed had to remove more than just his shoes! Mud puddles + 2-year-old boy = a great big mess. And a lot of fun!

Tuesday {5.24.11}
And we wasted no time enjoying our clean patio. Lunch outside today was wonderful.

Wednesday {5.25.11}
I try to forget the moments when the boys are at each others' throats, and relish in these moments instead. At the right time, and with the right toy, these two have become quite the playful pair.

Thursday {5.26.11}
Drew and Mrs. Bland, his preschool teacher. Today was his last day of school.

Friday {5.27.11}
The boys and I went to a couple garage sales this morning, and came home with a stash of new books. Among them, this McQueen paint book. For 25 cents, it gave Drew an entire afternoon of painting fun.

Saturday {5.28.11}
My extended family gathered in Davenport for a regular family get-together. It has been a while since we've seen everyone, and we had a most fantastic time with lots of food, chatter, and laughter. These four (plus 3 others) are second cousins - and so fun to watch play together!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Tell Me How You Really Feel

If you remember, Reed was having some troubles with his new sleep routine in his big boy bed. (If you've forgotten, THIS will refresh your memory.) On the plus side, he no longer falls asleep on the floor by the gate that prevents him from leaving his room. On the down side, he has found a whole new way to abuse his freedom from the crib bars and drive his mother completely batty.

He, of course, finds it hilarious.

His new tactic, or rather his new game, is to allow me to tuck him in, only to perk right up after I leave, throwing his blankets over the gate into the hallway, and call for me to come back so I can tuck him in again. And again. And again. And again.

To his credit: he's a smart little booger. And it was funny.

The first 20 or so times.

Now? Not so funny.

Now I tuck him in. Then tuck him in again. Usually I end up tucking him in a third time before I'm able to escape downstairs, where I just listen to him call, and then cry, for me to come back up before he relinquishes, and falls into bed to sleep.

Yesterday afternoon, when I tucked him in for quiet time, he pulled the usual stunt. When I finally got stern with him, told him this would be it, that I wasn't coming back up to tuck him in again, I concluded with my usual sign-off: kisses all over his face, followed by "Night night. Love you."

To which Reed replies, very grumpily...

"No love you."

I would be hurt to the core...if it didn't make me laugh so much. ;)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The End of the Beginning

This morning, Drew said good-bye to what has been the very beginning of his formal school years.

Scratch that.

This morning, I said good-bye to what has been the very beginning of Drew's formal school years.

*deep breath...*

Moving along.

Drew's last day of 3-year-old preschool was Tuesday, but the two classes at his school celebrated today with a play day. It was scheduled to be outside at Riverfront Park (where the ground fountains are), but due to rainy, chilly weather (55 degrees this morning!), the play day was relocated to the classrooms at school.

Thankfully, Drew didn't seem to mind this (although, truth be told, he probably didn't care where he played; he just wanted to be sure I was going to be there). He and his best buddy, Gage, ended up playing together the entire hour, putting together a train track...

from one end of the room to another.

(Family was invited to join the kiddos as they played and partied, so Reed and I joined in the festivities.)

Then there was some singing and dancing...

...before the teachers dished out the celebratory ice cream. Before 11am. Oy!

I cannot even put into words the appreciation and gratitude I have for Hobby Horse Preschool, Mrs. Bland, and Mrs. Cindy. Drew is an entirely different kid than he was 9 months ago.

First Day of School
September 8, 2010

He is probably a bit taller, and a tish slimmed down (losing more of that baby fat every day!), but that's not what I'm talking about. His social skills are booming, and he's just so smart! :)

*He is more independent.
*He is willing to play with others; not just mom.
*He talks about, and cares about, his friends.
*His vocabulary is insane.
*He engages in imaginative play.
*He's reached appropriate milestones, like letter identification, writing his name, cutting with scissors, etc.

YAY for Mrs. Bland!

YAY for Gage!

YAY for preschool!

(Now, when does school start again?!?!)

May Art

Drew's class spent several days putting these Mother's Day gifts together. Divine.

Drew made his own Rainbow Fish after Mrs. Bland read the class the book of the same name.

A spring flower made from a paper plate and construction paper. (Mrs. Bland later told me it was a makeshift craft created to use up some of their craft supplies before summer.)

I will so miss Drew bringing home his crafty creations from school while he's on summer break. I guess we'll have to do our own art projects here at home....hmmmmmm...........

Monday, May 23, 2011

Interview with a 4 Year Old

This video post is loooonnnnngg overdue, and perhaps some of you have already watched it on our Vimeo page. This is a video that was taken on Drew's 4th birthday, back in January. I want to interview our kids each year on their birthdays, as a kind of time capsule of them growing older. I capture so much of their lives, via this blog and scrapbooking, but there is very little that is in their own words. I will probably ask many of the same questions each year, to see how their answers have changed, as well as throw in new ones depending on their current likes and interests.

Although this was something I was planning on doing as we approached Drew's birthday, I didn't remember to do this until right before bed. After having had cake and ice cream for supper. So he's a bit wired. And has a short attention span. Thank goodness for video editing software programs!

In any event, it's fun to hear him talk. :)

{Pay close attention to Reed when he comes running across the background. And my favorite part? When Drew tells me who he's going to marry. :)}

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Picture of the Day, Week 20

I've really gotten into the habit of using my cell phone camera for our picture of the day photos. It's obviously more convenient than lugging around our larger SLR camera, although I sacrifice significantly on quality. I'm finding, though, that I'm capturing many more things that I would otherwise miss; many of the seemingly insignificant things that make up our lives right now. This week I'm glad that I can include some photos that were sent via text; as both a commentary on current technology as well as capturing some sweet, and silly, moments in our family.

Sunday {5.15.11}
On what was an otherwise very ugly day for our family, Brad texted me this picture (from a wedding he was performing) as a "bit of beauty" to brighten my spirits a little bit. It worked. (Man, I love that guy!)

Monday {5.16.11}
After my softball game, the little guys ran a victory lap with me around the bases. Reed took a short cut from 1st to 3rd, but when you're as cute as he is, I guess it's allowed. :)

Tuesday {5.17.11}
At Dad's softball game - relaxin' in the grass.

Wednesday {5.18.11}
I think I've mentioned before that every time we go to the store, Drew asks to look at "his cars". We were both surprised today to see the new inventory of cars from the new movie on the shelves. Actually, I think I was more excited then Drew was! I told him he'd have to get a bigger car case!

Thursday {5.19.11}
Tot Soccer 2011 has officially begun! Drew is on Team Blue Sharks this year, with Brad as his coach again. He did so great tonight, and we were especially proud after the way last year ended. Five more weeks to go!

Friday {5.20.11}
Brad texted me from work this morning, saying he was pretty tired. So I texted him back a series of three pictures, telling him to "WAKE UP!" He got the point. :)

Saturday {5.21.11}
Drew was curled up on the coach watching a movie this morning when Reed spotted him and needed to do the exact same thing. Like big brother, like little brother!

Saturday, May 21, 2011


Drew wasn't feeling very well today (tummyache) so when he asked me to lay down with him at quiet time, I happily obliged.

As we laid side by side, and I closed my eyes, I heard a whisper.

"I love you, Mommy."

I opened my eyes to peer at my sweet little man, and I said, "I love you, too, Buddy."

He held my hand (just like I used to do with my mom), and his other arm rested gently against my neck.

A tear slipped down my cheek.

Sometimes, a little boy just needs his mommy.

Today, this mommy just needed her little boy.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

{Another} Weekend Away

There really is no better time to go to Pella than in the spring.
Early May, to be exact.



Dutch boys.


The little boys and I have been on the road the past few weekends, and this last weekend we were finally able to take Brad along with us. :) Our oldest niece, Elise, was celebrating her high school graduation with an open house on Saturday, the 14th, so we used this as an excuse to take a few extra days to enjoy time with Brad's family. We arrived at Brad's parents' house in Pella on Thursday, just in time for dinner. After stuffing ourselves silly with grilled Iowa pork chops, potatoes, salad, corn, and strawberries, we took a stroll to the park and enjoyed the beautiful spring sunshine. Both boys obliged to Grandma's request to don the Dutch costumes and take some photos (and as you can see, these may be the last photos we get of these two as those buttons appear to be bulging a bit!...and we were about a week past prime tulip viewing, but still quite stunning in number and beauty) before we headed across the street to the elementary school's playground.

Both boys were all over the place, covering every inch of that playground. And as I mentioned in this week's POTD post, Drew took a trip to the land of Oz and came back with a dose of the Lion's courage! He was a whole new kid. He literally attacked that jungle gym with excitement, a sense of adventure, and boldness, the likes of which I have never seen before in him. It was so fun to watch. He's becoming quite the little man. The little "I think I can" man.

After Brad enjoyed some golfing with his dad, and the boys, Grandma and I enjoyed some shopping and garage sale-ing on Friday morning, we set off for Des Moines to see more of Brad's family. The boys love playing with their older cousins. {Thank you to Lew, Lauren, and Ali for showering them with so much attention...because the boys pretty much demand it. ;) They adore all of you, so so much.} More delicious food, more meaningful conversations, more stories and laughter, and more and more and more.

It's always so nice to see our family. Their love, support, and encouragement are unparalleled.

They're pretty great people.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Picture of the Day, Week 19

Sunday {5.8.11}

Monday {5.9.11}
For whatever reason, I could not sleep Sunday night. I got maybe 45 minutes of shut eye, and that was all. On the plus side, I got some things done. The down side was that when I finally crashed...I really crashed! I was so tired I fell into bed without bothering to put on the clean sheets it needed, and snuggled with one of the boys' friends.

Tuesday {5.10.11}
Drew and his class took a little field trip up the street to the neighborhood park during school today. This was how he looked when I picked him up. This doesn't so much document what he did today as much as it documents how easily this kid sweats. G.R.O.S.S.

Wednesday {5.11.11}
My best couponing trip to the grocery store yet! I saved 85% on this bill by using a coupon for every item I purchased, except the bread. The highlights: 24 free boxes of pasta (which will be donated, because who needs 24 boxes of pasta???), 7 free pouches of tuna, 9 cents for barbeque sauce, and 24 cents for cereal. Total cost for everything pictured: $19.59. Still not Extreme Couponing standards, but still very impressive!

Thursday {5.12.11}
We spent our weekend with Brad's family, and a trip to Pella in the spring requires a bit of Dutch costuming (remember last year?). They do look pretty darn cute. :)

Friday {5.13.11}
I'm not sure what Drew drank today, but whatever it was, it had a healthy dose of courage in it! He was a maniac on this jungle gym; here and there and everywhere without any hesitation or second glance. He faltered on the rock climbing wall, stating he just couldn't do it. It wasn't five minutes later we heard him exclaim, "Hey! Look at me!" as he was already half way up the rock wall! Summer at the park is going to be awesome!

Saturday {5.14.11}
Our reason for our trip to Iowa was to attend our niece's graduation party. Here we are with Elise. She was 9 when we got married. Holy cow am I getting old-er.