Monday, July 30, 2012

track news articles

With it being an Olympic year, there's been lots of media coverage related to track and field...including Gill Athletics! Here's a few articles that have run recently, two from our local paper and one (which includes quotes from Mike!) in the NY Times!

Sales of many items starting to recover for Champaign firm hurt by recession

Hawaii: hotel

Because I'm not really sure how to make my vacation blog 1 post or 10 posts, I'm going to go for something in between and recap each "piece" of vacation! Bottom line, it was an amazing trip and we can't wait to return to Hawaii someday!

We stayed at the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Waikiki. It was amazing and positively huge. While that's not always a plus for some people, we didn't mind and never felt "crowded" anywhere we were. People spread out pretty well :)

There were at least six "towers" at the village, so it was like having several different hotels all on the same property. We stayed in the Diamond Head tower, which was further away from the beach but still had an amazing view (view from balcony at left). We were hardly ever in the room though...with perfect weather, how can you not be somewhere outside in Hawaii!?
The grounds of the hotel were beautiful. Just to get from our room to the pool, we passed koi ponds, a flamingo area and a penguin pond. (Yep, penguins in Hawaii. Seriously explain to me how that works.) And the beach, pools, etc...oh my goodness.

Here's our beach and pools below. It was the most spectacular beach I've ever seen and I loved playing in the waves. Just like a kid :) The three pools we used were great. I even got Mike to ride the waterslides a couple of times (anyone that knows him KNOWS how crazy that is). We found one pool that was practically empty every day and quickly became our fav. I don't have any photos of that one though :/

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Cunninghams home at last!

Amy & Mike are back in town and on their way to pick up Bear from Club Mutt (Uncle Danny's). It sounds like it was a wonderful trip to Hawaii and I'm glad that we were able to help out. I had fun sharing our week with all, here on the blog. Amy will be blogging tonight with pix of Hawaii I'm sure.
over and out, good night....zzzzzzzzz.....

Guest blogger, gramma, signing out.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Troy's favorite thing

Well I think Troy's favorite part of our week happened today and unfortunately I don't have one picture of it! We were on our way to the store and we passed a block party. In Chicago, you can always count on the Chicago Fire Department to show up with a great big fire truck for the kids to climb on. Well I didn't have any qualms about crashing another block's party when I heard Troy yell "fire truck, fire truck!". We walked all around it and looked at the ladders and HUGE wheels. Then we went up in front and one of the firemen let Troy climb into the drivers seat and steer the wheel.
You never saw such a happy boy! It was a great photo op, but alas, I left my camera at home....
Oh well, Troy loved it and that's all that counts!

(Use your imagination to picture ecstatic toddler on real fire truck here)

Choo Choooo

We dug out Uncle Andy's Playmobil train last night. Troy really got a kick out of seeing a "real" train race around the track. Whenever the cars fell off of the track, Troy sat right down and waited for Uncle Andy to fix it for him. As you can see, the train moved really fast, that's why the picture is so blurry. I wonder why the pictures of Troy aren't blurry? He moves much faster than that train!

Oh What a Beautiful Day

It was a gorgeous day today, just right for yard work and water fun. Grampa took care of the yard work and Troy took care of the water work, including giving Shaw a bath.

When Grampa was done with his work, he decided to cool off in Troy's pool. Troy thought it was a great idea and was happy to hose him down even more!

I'm glad that the weather cooperated today. It was so nice to be able to spend a long time outside and not get too hot. Troy could stay outside all day!

Friday, July 27, 2012

A Visit with Bear

Since we knew that our house would be pretty busy this week, we thought it might be a good idea to find a nice place for Bear to stay for the week. Uncle Danny & Aunt Sue were nice enough to watch Bear, along with their dog Gracie, for the week. We popped in for a few minutes today to see how the dogs were doing.

Troy was super excited to see Bear!

Bear was pumped to see Troy!

Looks like Bear knew an eyeball rub was coming.

"Thanks for stopping by Troy, but we've got to get back to our sunspots on the couch."

Thursday, July 26, 2012

How to tire a toddler, in 1 easy lesson

Walk one block to park with toddler pulling wagon.
Pick up interesting leaves and sticks along the way.
Once at park, go on all slides and assorted spinning apparatus.
Have toddler chase grampa, gramma and dog across field.
Repeat as needed.

Kiddie Kingdom Rules!

This post is brought to you by guest blogger Gramma.

We were happy to have a visit from Auntie Patti and Cousin Emily today. They came in bright and early and Troy was very happy to have someone new to play with. Emmy kept Troy busy with his cars and dinosaurs and then we decided to go out for lunch. Where to go with an 8 year old and a 19 month old? Why Kiddie Kingdom, of course, just a few minutes away. Good pizza to eat and total sensory overload for all. Troy loved all of the rides and games, even playing some skeeball. He really liked collecting all of the tickets that popped out of the games, even if they weren't his! On the 7 minute ride home, Troy fell asleep, even though we tried our best to keep him awake. No problem though. I carried him in, changed his diaper, took off his socks and shoes and put him down for his nap, all without him making a peep. I guess he had a good time, he napped for 3 hours!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Turtles and Otters and Fish, oh my

This post is brought to you by one tired Gramma.

Another busy day today. Grampa took the day off again (thank you Gary) and decided it was a great day to visit the Shedd Aquarium. With 99 degree temperatures outside, the aquarium was a good idea indeed. Troy loved the coral reef with all of the different kinds of fish. He especially liked when the diver swam over to him and waved!

On the way home, we stopped for lunch at Costello's in Lincoln Square. There was live music and Troy bopped to the music all the way through lunch.

After a nice nap, we headed outside for a little water fun.
That's the update for today. Tomorrow Auntie Patti and Emily are coming to visit since Grampa is back to work. I know Troy will be happy to see them but I will REALLY be happy for the company and the extra hands!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

This post is brought to you by guest blogger Gramma.

Troy had another full day today and we were both VERY excited that Grampa took the day off work to join us. Troy had a really good time at the Kohl Children's Museum in Glenview. Everything is all "hands on" and Troy got his hands on everything! He got to operate a "real" bulldozer, play all kinds of musical instruments and check out some real butterflies. (No pictures of any of this because I forgot to put my memory card back in my camera. You warned me Amy.) But trust me, it was fun.

We finished off the day by taking Troy and Shaw (the dog) to the park. It's just one block away and a great way to wrap up our day. There were lots of kids there for Troy to watch and play with.

Looking forward to tomorrow - Grampa has another day off. Who knows what we'll do?

Monday, July 23, 2012

It's not all fun and games here at Gramma & Grampa's house. Troy put in a hard day at the office, crunching some numbers. Hopefully he didn't send any emails when we weren't looking!

Troy looks like he's watching the latest stock report.

Washin' the new wheels

You know how men are when they get new wheels - spending time every day to wash off the bugs, etc. Troy is no different and spent a good amount of time today cleaning up his wagon.

Troy and Gramma getting sprayed.

...and we're off!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Troy vs. Giraffe

This post is brought to you by guest blogger, Gramma.

Troy had a busy day today with a lot of his time spent out in the yard playing in and around his new giraffe pool (thank you Auntie Daria!). Troy's Beama stopped by to see the fun (and got a little wet) and Natalie & Joe came to visit too. Troy had a great time showing Joe all of his cool dinosaurs and especially liked his dinosaur noises!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Adventure Begins

This post is brought to you by guest blogger Gramma.
The Cunningham Family arrived in Chicago today to get things situated before Amy & Mike take off for Hawaii on Monday. We have been getting a few things ready for our week with Troy. The wagon we got for him looks like it's going to be a big hit.

Troy went round and round and round...then fell down when he got off. He seemed to like it!

Headed home from the park. The first trip of many!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

a seat at the table

We went out to eat tonight and as I pulled the highchair to the table, Troy climbed up into the chair next to Mike. We figured it'd just last a few minutes and he'd be getting down and running around. Nope, he sat still all through the meal and enjoyed sitting in a chair like a big guy!


While me (and my camera) have been at VBS all week, Mike, Troy and Bear have had some good chill time. Pretty sure Troy is comfy in this photo...but Bear? She's looking forward to vacation too :)


Yikes, getting ready for vacation PLUS a wild and fun week of VBS all at the same time is hectic! I'm officially on vacation now and am thinking of this lovely scene as I do laundry, vacuum cars and came from the beach outside our hotel this past Tuesday (I love following the hotel's fanpage on Facebook!) Can't wait to take some photos of my own in mere days!

Monday, July 16, 2012

VBS 2012

We have VBS going at church this week. It kicked off last night and continues through Wednesday. We've had tons of fun planning this hip-hop themed party for Jesus!

Troy stayed home with Mike last night but I brought him with tonight. Like every one of the other 300-some kids attending, he loves the music! It is SO upbeat and I've been hearing it and looking forward to seeing the kids dance and sing to it for months :) Here's a clip of him rocking out wayyyy past bedtime in one of the chairs. He thought the chair was way too much fun! (More photos of the week available on the church's FB page.)

hard at work

Troy thoroughly enjoys stopping at my cube on the way in the building each day and "working". (Or maybe its just the swivel office chair that he loves.) Anyways, today he looked awfully cute sitting at my computer with my Starbucks (thanks hubby!)

Coco Love

Troy loved having Coco the dog visit our house this weekend. While Coco was fantastic with him, I'm pretty sure she got tired of Troy's "love" for her, which consists of constant chasing and shouts of "Coco, Coco!"

I see Bear in the background saying, "Ah....a break!"

Friday, July 13, 2012


Troy is starting to look more and more like Mike. They snapped this photo while hanging out tonight.

Notice a different dog in this picture? You're not imagining things. Our canine houseguest is back!

Thursday, July 12, 2012


Today I told Troy to say "cheese" when I was getting ready to take a picture. He looked at me, smiled and said, "cheese!" Warms this photo-lover's heart to have a kid who eagerly smiles for the camera!


Every morning when its time to go get ready I tell Troy its time to go upstairs. Today when I announced we were going upstairs to get ready, he gathered four random toys (only one of which he had actually played with this morning) and began dragging them over to the stairs...

His plan was foiled as soon as he tried to climb the first stair. "Uh oh!"

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

lovin' life

Up the stairs. Down the slide. Smile with joy. Repeat.

19 month update

Quickie update on Troy for this month.

He rocks.

I could pretty much sum up this month by saying "I love being a mom."

But really...I am enjoying this age so much! He is learning new words every single day. And those wild and crazy toddler meltdowns that have been going on in recent months can now (often) be relieved quickly by asking him a question to get an answer. Or at least to get him thinking about an answer.

He went through a brief hitting phase this month. Its been done for two weeks, which is great. He'll get in scuffles over toys and such with other kids but none of the hitting-for-no-reason stuff anymore.

We've had some really fun outings lately. He's been really agreeable in the car to run errands, despite the heat. We've had a LOT of mommy/troy time with Mike's travel season coming to an end, and he has really behaved well. (Can I get a "holla" that busy travel season is over!? We're ready to have Daddy at home some more!)

He is fearless, especially at the pool. I have to watch him really closely. He can jump in from a standing position on the side, so it makes me nervous that he'd just jump in (if given the opportunity) without me to catch him. But aside from following him around closely, pool outings are tons of fun. 

He eats pretty much anything, and does a great job with a fork and spoon now. He loves people and shopping trips are mostly a breeze because he keeps finding people to say hi to (a game we've been playing for a few months now). I love seeing who he chooses to greet, and their responses (though not everyone responds to a friendly 1 yr old). 

I'm not sure what else to say, but I wanted to say something. So there ya have it :)

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Mr. GQ

My friend Laura referred to Troy as "Mr. GQ" today at church. The rest of the day I caught some "I'm too cool to smile" looks from him :) Very "GQ", Troy :)

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Field Fest at Gill

This year's Field Fest at the Gill Factory grew even bigger and better this year! Pole vaulting and throwing events all set up at the same time, combined with several of this year's Olympic athletes made for quite the event! As I posted last year, its typically held on one of the hottest days of the year. Yep, it definitely lived up to that this year. Troy downed an entire bottle of water in record time, got it all over himself and was completely dry like moments later.

Though we missed our opportunity to get any photos of Troy with the athletes (bummer), he did get some stellar playtime in the Gill showroom, showing off his "jump" on the basketball court to a crowd of teens and playing on the pits. I guarantee he'll want to play in there again next time we visit!

Friday, July 6, 2012

three p's: pool, picnic and park

It doesn't get more summer than this! On this 100+ degree day, we planned a late afternoon meet up with our friend Tessa and her mom. The kids had a lot of fun at the pool- Troy is SO comfortable in the water after spending so much time there these past couple weeks, that he thinks he can do just about anything (including plunging himself under water or jumping off the side). I have to keep a really close eye on him :)

Afterwards, we grabbed a bite to eat and had a picnic. I love the post-pool picnic, which we did yesterday too. There's something so enjoyable about dining al fresco at a picnic table to refuel! Tessa was super sweet to Troy and in his semi-tired state, he seemed to enjoy her hugs :)

Tessa, we're going to miss you and your family when you move away! (Sidenote: if you want to be our neighbors, you can buy their house!)

first movie: Big Miracle

When we were invited on an outing to the $1 kids movie this week, I thought we'd try out Troy's first movie theater experience and see what he thought. He's not a huge TV fan, only watching for 15-20 minutes at a time, but I thought the appeal of the big screen and his own chair might draw him in :)

It actually went pretty well in the beginning. But then the movie proved to be a little slow, he plowed through his snacks and it was time for us to leave. It was a fun and different outing for us, and I think we might try again with one of the animated flicks towards the end of summer. Thanks for the invite Su!
two big boys in their own movie theater seats

Thursday, July 5, 2012

pre-nap pool trip

This is what happens when you go to the pool BEFORE naptime in Troy's world. I've never seen him sleep so stretched out!

chalkboard menu

As I posted, I've been loving the meal planning lately. Mike mentioned that the next step in my meal planning was displaying it somewhere so that he could know what was coming up for the week :) Inspired by pinterest (and some of my crafty friends!) I decided to add a chalkboard menu to the inside of my pantry this week!

First, I taped off a rectangle on the inside of my pantry door.

 Then I painted two coats of chalkboard paint in the rectangle (no photos of just this step).
I came back the next day and stenciled the letters for the days of the week. I used leftover paint from our kitchen walls, so it coordinates nicely :)

I waited another day and then I prepped the chalkboard and began using it! Woot!