Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Spring Break Comes to an End

On our last full day in Evanston, Kim and Mia came to visit!!!  We always have such fun catching up with Kim, and Mia is so sweet!  It was so hard to believe it was just over a year ago she was born, and I was able to squeeze in a crazy visit to the hospital to meet her!
 Neither Graham nor Mia was sure what to make of this other baby on Kim's lap...
 This was funny to watch--Graham was showing off his tricks, and Mia was watching VERY closely! 
 Mia was not as excited about our snuggles as I was...

We have introduced so many friends to the deliciousness of Herm's, so off we went for a walk for lunch :)
 Reading with Bampa.  Dad and I spent many hours on this couch reading stories.  Everything from the beginner dictionary to The Babysitters' Club :)
After such a wonderful time enjoying our time with Mimi and Bampa, it was time to fly home to Daddy!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter Shenanigans

 Easter morning: pre-matching outfits
 Cute new shirts courtesy of Mimi's Shopping Talents, and bunny ears!
 We started the morning with a little egg hunting.  
 I really like this picture--it really was a beautiful day!
 Graham quickly got the hang of this activity...
 I didn't think far enough in advance before sending the boys outside, but I caught Jackson for just a minute and encouraged him to help Graham find some eggs too, and to not just grab all the eggs up himself.  I didn't really know how far that little speech would go...  I was SO pleasantly surprised when Jackson showed such patience with Graham and made sure he found plenty of eggs for his bag :)
 Aunt Michelle, Uncle Larry and their Bunny Nephews :)
 Bampa has two helpers now for pancake mornings!
 Bampa was very patient, and Graham was a pretty good helper :)
 Everyone stirring
 Bampa was also very patient with me, as I decided "we" should make these bunny pancakes at the last minute!  He made the right shapes out of batter, and then I assembled :)
 Jackson and I had a Big Herms date for an afternoon treat, and we worked on very belatedly filling out more of The Big Sibling Book!
 After we got back from our date, and Graham woke up from his nap, we headed over to the new play area at Old Orchard.  It is SO cute!  there is a little maze made out of hedges.
There is playground equipment, and then there is an awesome climbing structure with tunnels and hills.  It was a beautiful evening!  

Sunday, April 20, 2014

More Spring Break Adventures!

 Uncle Larry and Aunt Michelle were able to make a trip to visit too!!!  Aunt Michelle enjoyed Quiet Time with Jackson while he watched a movie :)
 Uncle Larry was a good sport for this game Jackson made up!
 We met Mimi's friend, Terrie, at Panera one morning for snacks.  
 Jackson helped Mimi tear apart all of these tiny little papers for a game at the grocery store.  He thought it was a great job :)
 I loved watching Uncle Larry and Jackson play soccer together!  They seemed to have a lot of fun!
Larry was not much older than Jackson when he started his soccer career...  

We also got in a "Date Night" (my date was still in VA) without kids one night, and we just enjoyed catching up!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Fun Times Playing with Friends!

I mostly wanted this picture to get a shot of the cute matching shirts :)  But, it also catches Jackson's love for the puppets on display every time we visit Barnes and Noble!
After a morning of visiting the bookstore and naps, we headed out to visit some of our favorite friends: Auntie Dale, Uncle Eddie, Auntie Abbey, Auntie Kelly, Ryleigh and Brooklyn!  I loved watching Graham on the pink princess truck, and Brooklyn did a great job pushing him around :)
Ryleigh and Jackson bonding over Mr. and Mrs. Potato Heads
The Four Musketeers
Another super fun playdate at the mall play area with the Wiedemanns!  Jackson and Graham LOVED playing with Alyssa and Ashley, and I got to catch up with Jane and Alex.  Alex was in my third grade class, and he will turn 16 on OUR birthday--that's right--we are Birthday Buddies :)

Thursday, April 17, 2014

No Sleep, Early Library Date, and Cousin Beth!!!

I had the bright idea to try sleeping Jackson and Graham in the same room while visiting Mimi and Bampa.  That has not worked out super well :(  Graham has been up SUPER early, so of course, Jackson is up super early.  I'm talking like 4:30am.  Often I hear Graham when Josh leaves early in the morning, but then he must go back to sleep, because I usually don't hear him again until 6:30/7ish.  I think what is happening, is he is waking up early like that, but then he sees Jackson, and that gets him all the way awake.  We have been "enjoying" morning naps, and activities like getting to the library RIGHT when they open!  LOL  I just love the Skokie Library.  I say that each time we visit, but it really is wonderful!  There is a huge play area, so the boys played, and I got to choose a great big stack of books and relax just a bit.
Our awesome haul!  Can you tell we are loving some Mo Willems right now?
And, on such a day when we start our day so early, it works out super well when your cousin calls and tells you she is running really early!  We usually visit Beth at her house, which the boys love because she has saved several bins of toys, but it was nice to have her over to Mimi and Bampa's house to show off what they like to do there.  Jackson read to her, Graham cooked on the pretend grill, she and I got in snippets of conversation, and then this happened:
Graham threw a HUGE fit at lunch because he was THAT tired!  LOL  We really had a great time catching up!
This was a very busy day!  After naptime, we met Maria at Northbrook Court for snacks and playing in their play area.  The boys had a fabulous time running around, and Mom and I got to catch up with Maria, which I always love :)
Then, my wonderful mom, who I so appreciate, took both boys home with her to do the wrangling for dinner and bedtime while I drove out to meet this lovely lady!  Cassie and I haven't been able to connect in so long, and we SO enjoyed our Girls' Night Dinner :)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Back to Make a Messterpiece: Two DIFFERENT Boys Make a Mess!

Jackson's memory amazes Josh and me on a regular basis.  In good ways and bad... ;)  When he was 3 1/2, Mimi and I took Jackson to Make a Messterpiece to meet some good friends (Two Boys Make a Messterpiece!), and Jackson has reminisced about certain activities over and over for the past two years!  Crazy!  It was a fun time, but this was a bit ridiculous!  Well, low and behold, there was a Living Social deal right before our trip, so I bought some coupons!
This time, of course, Graham had to join in the fun!  The bubble painting was a big hit again!
Jackson prepared to be a little scientist!
There were special solutions to create little wiggly worms!
Graham really had fun in the little play area that included a ladder to climb and a slide!
Crazy man!
This Lil' Sprouts activity was a bit of a bust.  There were supplies to do some sort of planting, but there was no guidance from the employees, and mixed sets of directions...  Jackson didn't seem to notice.  LOL
Last time, Jackson was not super into the Drum Roll area, but this time he was all about it!  He marched right in and beat away on the drums full of paint!
All geared up!  After we finished with all of our "messterpieces" we headed over to Potbelly for a delicious lunch!  Always a good combo :)

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Kickin' Off Spring Break!

We got in one more free flight for Graham under 2, and planned a trip to visit Mimi and Bampa over Spring Break!!!  Jackson was ecstatic to get to not only fly on an airplane, but to also get to wheel his own suitcase through the airport :)  Getting to the airport and checking in went ok, until the woman at the counter told me there were only two seats left, and they were not together.  We flew AirTran, which has great prices, but that's because they charge you extra for everything!  I knew they charged extra for choosing seats ahead of time, but I had never had any trouble with getting two seats together especially since I booked them on the same reservation.  While I was happy to let someone else sit next to my five-year old, the woman was able to accommodate us.  Once we got to the gate, I checked with the gate attendant to make sure the change had gone through, and she went ahead and upgraded us to First Class!!!  SCORE!  I have to be honest, though.  The First Class seats were in the bulkhead, so we had to put all of our carry-ons above our seats, and that made me nervous, particularly with Graham, so I almost asked if could stick with the change we made in the regular section.  LOL  
Graham all ready to take off!
Jackson didn't really understand the excitement with our seating change, but he was just happy to be on the plane :)
He was pretty pumped about his juice and the extra pack of Oreos he got all to himself at 10am!  LOL  They brought us a basket of yummy snacks to choose from, and we got drinks quickly.  Lovely perks!
And, then this lovely perk happened!  Graham has slept on every flight we've taken him on (which Jackson never did as a baby), but I figured since he was so much older, he would be awake the whole time.  He conked right out!  I got a good hour or so to drink my Diet Coke and read my book :)
Spring Break First Class Airplane Selfie
Bampa picked us up at the airport, and we headed straight for Big Herms for lunch, of course!
Mimi got home after naptime, and everyone was anxious to see/talk to her!
Sorting shapes with the hippo and Bampa
Jackson showing Mimi his new game on his LeapPad
Bampa got out this super cool game to play with Jackson, which both boys loved!
Graham enjoyed clapping for everyone!
And, then it did this.  On April 14th...