Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Fun Visiting

Aunt Michelle is so fun to play with...I especially appreciate her willingness to play games with my eldest early in the morning ;)  This hand-me-down version of Cariboo was SO fun and enjoyed by both boys!  
Mom took Jackson to a movie, Josh was out hunting down some particular geocaches, so I left Bampa on nap-duty and snuck out to Barnes and Noble for coffee and to read :)
Feeding their friends a picnic :)
Settling in to watch "woof woofs" 

The stars aligned, and we were able to plan a whole day out in "the far away suburbs" to see the Cocallases and the Mullens on the same day!!!  We started out at Kim and David's house playing with Mia!  Then we all headed out to Culvers for a DELICIOUS lunch!  It was SOOO yummy, and made us want to take a nap!  Ha ha!  
Graham spent most of his time napping at Mary Jo and Mark's house, and we so appreciated their willingness to set us up for that!  Jackson and James had a GREAT time picking their friendship up and playing all afternoon!  There was some Lego exploration, dress-up, Wii playing and snacks.  Bobby went in between the big boys and the grown-ups, and Mikey and Graham joined us for the last hour or so.  It was "that time of day," so we weren't able to get a picture of all of the boys :( 
Yesterday we headed out again for another full day...this time to Cary to visit the Tabions!  We got to meet Baby Quinn, and even though she had a terrible cold, she was so sweet and let everyone hold her :)  It was SO fun to catch up and hang out like old three children!  Dana and Age even ordered lunch from the Crystal Lake Rib House where we used to eat at least once a week when we lived in Crystal Lake--it was SO YUMMY!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Christmas Fun!

We had a wonderful Christmas!
 Graham LOVES opening "press-uhs," so that was extra fun!
 Jackson got a special note from Santa explaining that the hula hoop he asked for would be delivered to Dumfries later!
 Such excitement!
 Mimi was excited to get her own fleece-tie blanket!  I made them for Josh, Dad and Larry last year, and she had expressed and "interest" in one for herself ;)
 Being a good little helper ;)
 My Christmas morning loves!
 Barney Stinson's books published in real life :)
 A new TV for Mimi!
After a pancake brunch made by Bampa, we played cards and had Tom and Jerry drinks during naptime.  We finished the day with another tradition of Chinese food for dinner.  I love when we get to all be together for the holidays!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

'Twas the Night Before Christmas (and a few days before)!

Mimi was my hero and got up with the boys Monday 4:45am!  Ouch!  It was a combo of the one-hour time change (always causes our boys more of a problem than it seems it should) and them sleeping in the same room.  The Buerstattes coming over to hang out was the first order of business!!!  We played at the house for a while and then headed over to Big Herms for lunch :)  In the afternoon we headed out to Cary to see Auntie Abbey and Uncle Dan's new house!!!  Auntie Dale, Auntie Kelly, Ryleigh and Brooklyn came too, so we had a great time visiting and eating dinner (as always!)!

We knew the weather was only going to get colder while we were in town, so we took advantage of the sunny morning yesterday to do a little geocaching.  It was chilly, but nice to get some fresh air!  For dinner we went to Hackneys to hear the carolers--high school singers dress in traditional wassail clothing and travel throughout the restaurant singing Christmas songs.  They are SO fun to watch, especially for the boys!
 Bampa and Jackson enjoying some treats  :)
 This was taken at lunch.  Graham barely ate yesterday or today, and he was running a fever by bedtime.  Poor little guy :(
 Christmas Eve dinner for Jackson and Graham while watching "How the Grinch Stole Christmas!"  I made egg nog last night, so we could leave some for Santa, and the boys helped me make Choc-Oat Chip Cookies to go with it this morning :)  After the boys went to bed, we grown-ups had delicious turkey, salami, mac-n-cheese, cinnamon jell-o, sweet potato casserole, homemade biscuits and green beans.  Lemon bars and Oreo Truffle Brownies for dessert :)
 Graham perked up after a bath and in time for presents :)
 It's been a tradition to open the presents from Karol and Brad on Christmas Eve, so that's what we have continued doing!  The boys also opened their presents from our cousins in California on Dad's side :)
 This was such a cool Lego set!  The back of the truck opens to hold a Lego race car, and there are a few minifigs to make up a pit crew, complete with tools!
 Our personal entertainer :)
 New racers!
 A pro at unwrapping!
 More Legos!
 A gift from Amazon!
Trying out his brother's 3-D glasses!
We had a fun evening opening a few presents ourselves and getting ready for the morning...!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Penny's First Road Trip, Hanging out with Conners, Meeting Olivia, and Evanston FINALLY!

I was SO proud of myself for getting everything packed and loaded in the car so we could leave on time: 3am Saturday morning!!!  The boys slept some more in the car, and then we started a pretty good travel day of snacking, movies, books and toys.  We had a fun stop at a Chick fil a in Ohio for lunch and powered through the last few hours before arriving at the Conners!!!
We were SOOO happy to arrive for lots of reasons, but this sweet face was #1!  Miss Olivia May :)
Everyone was excited to hold her :)
Graham LOVED the "bay-bee" and holding her!
I put myself on baby-holding duty while all of the kids played together and Josh was able to finally relax after a ridiculous work schedule AND driving us part-way overnight all the way to Indy--everyone wins!  ;)
I suppose this is what life would look like if we had one more...  Good thing we aren't finding out!
There was some fun game playing!
More baby holding
And, Christmas cookie baking!
Katie was a brave woman, and she gave each of the kids a little mound of dough to "roll out" to then use a cookie cutter with.  It was pretty funny!
All of the kids were asleep, and I happily continued my baby-holding duties :)
Right back at it in the morning!
This was the cutest!
We bribed the kids with present-opening and ice cream at lunch to get a nice picture :)
Caleb (3 1/2), Lexi (5), Graham (2 1/2), Paige (7 1/2), Jackson (6), Olivia (1 month)
So excited it was his turn :)
Ice cream faces!
Quite pleased with his own cone!
LOVE baby faces!
Pretty tree at Mom and Dad's!
 Vacation in Chicago officially commences: Lou Malanti's while wearing bacon pants :)

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah!

We celebrated Hanukkah a bit early, so we could enjoy all eight nights before our trip.  Jackson learned the entire prayer this year and loved lighting the candles!  
Night #1: Slippers!
Graham loves his actual slippers, but does not enjoy wearing them...yet.  I bet once it gets colder, I will convince him...
On the first night of (our) Hanukkah, we also opened the presents Jackson chose for us at the Holiday Shoppe at school!  He chose a football keychain for Josh, a pretty "gold" ring with a pink stone for me, and a basketball squishy ball for Graham.  Such thoughtful choices--I was really proud of his shopping!  He was really proud of his choices and so excited for us to open them!
Our 8th night of Hanukkah!
Cute brothers :)