Friday, August 31, 2012

fourth anniversary!

The anniversary tradition continues! We celebrated our first anniversary where we had our first day, second anniversary for second date, third anniversary for third date, and now this year was our fourth anniversary. I clearly remember our first three dates. Then I think we went to Dos Reales, where we proceeded to go at least weekly (if not more) throughout our early months of dating. We even had Dos the night we got engaged. (For a real fun throw-back, read his and hers versions of our proposal on my old wedding blog.)

Back to present day. We had a fun dinner at Dos as a family of three. I think Troy is going to be a huge fan of Mexican food just like his parents. Happy Anniversary, Mike!!


I taught Troy a new word while he was building this in the kitchen the other day. I thought it closely resembled something you'd see in downtown Chicago. Check out his architectural design!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

cupcake party

Troy loves celebrating the birthdays of his friends at daycare! 

Sunday, August 26, 2012


We know just a little bit about Montessori (learn what Wikipedia has to offer here). We still don't know if we'll choose a Montessori school for Troy when he gets older, but what we do know is we already have some Montessori ways in our home. About a month after we put Troy's mattress on the floor and realized what a great fit it was for him, we learned this is actually called a "montessori bed". (To us, its still the mattress on the floor system.)

Anyways, ever since we learned a little about Montessori we have commonly used this word in our home when Troy tends to do something we don't quite understand but shows us he's just figuring out the world around him. Things that represent him trying to make decisions on his own :) Last night was one of those nights when Troy did something clearly "montessori". I went to peek in on him after he fell asleep and this is how I found him...

Despite the many blankets, Troy chose to go get his shirts out of his drawer and cover up with them instead! Nothing to say about this other than "Montessori!"

Saturday, August 25, 2012

the return of sir-hops-a-lot

We've spotted this frog (or at least we think its the same frog) for three years in a row now. He managed to stay undercover almost all summer, but while Mike was raking the yard today, he surfaced! Troy definitely noticed him this year, wanted to touch him and kept going back to look at him after we walked away the first time. I came in to grab my camera since we've got three years of photos of this guy far as frogs go, he seems to look the exact same!

sidewalk prophets concert

Whew, two outdoor fests in one weekend! The summer must be coming to a close with all this fun stuff on the calendar :) Today we went out to Mahomet for a Sidewalk Prophets concert. It was super crowded but we found a great spot in the shade just a little ways away from the stage. Troy had fun (until he realized it was past naptime) and we enjoyed it too. Summer, you can't possibly be coming to a close!

Friday, August 24, 2012

touch a truck

We heard the Sweetcorn Fest would have a touch a truck event set up tonight so we made sure we headed over for a visit after dinner. Troy already got to climb in a firetruck once this summer while vacationing with Gramma and Grampa, but we haven't been able to make it to any of these local touch a truck events so far this summer.

First up was the helicopter. He sure liked driving it!

Then we tried the fire truck. He was only in the truck a minute or so before he wanted out!

But walking around the fire truck for several minutes proved to be lots of fun!
He carefully walked around the perimeter of the tractor. I couldn't believe how tiny he looked next to the wheel!

The snowplow was his favorite though. He took two turns in that one and got his "junior snowplow" sticker when he was done :)

Pretty sure Troy will be having sweet dreams of touching the trucks all night tonight!

this year's first orchard trip

Troy thoroughly enjoyed this year's first trip to the orchard earlier today :) Friends, farm animals and apple donuts...I know we'll be going back on another Friday soon!
this goat really enjoyed the goat food the boys were offering
this sweet kitten just flopped down on the ground, purring, and let the kids pet him (her?) I was so proud of Troy for being so gentle and soft!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Troy quotes

Some Troy quotes these days...

"I see you!"

"I color!"

Monday, August 20, 2012

Happy Birthday Liam!

Tonight we got to celebrate a very special little guy's second birthday! Our friend and neighbor Liam turned two. Hard to believe these little guys are now running around and eating cake together.

A couple neighbors got together for a fun monkey cake and ice cream before bedtime tonight. The three little boys were all very interested in watching Su cut the cake after we sang :)

Happy Birthday, Liam! We're glad we got to share your birthday with you!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

day in Decatur

Today started out as a trip to the State Fair. But when we got in the car and the GPS reminded us it was nearly 2 hours away, we started to brainstorm alternatives :) We ended up spending the day in Decatur and had a great time at their zoo and kids museum. We even dined out with Troy for the first time in a long time and overall just had a really enjoyable day. Here's a few photos!

Troy loved chasing the goats, just like the last time we were here.
"Um, I don't really want to get off the train yet guys."
We loved the bubble room! Mike especially :)
Busy at work

He was convinced it was a helicopter, not an airplane.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

book of the month: go dog, go

If Troy had a book of the month club, the book of August would be "Go Dog, Go!" It is a great book, I'm pretty sure it was one of my favorites as a kid. The downside of this book is its 50+ pages, making it one of the longer reads when you are reading it repeatedly. So what ends up happening is we read it once all the way through and then I let Troy take it to his bed to read on his own after I leave the room. Tonight he was so tired and he literally fell asleep in the middle of the book.

football season is upon us

Troy got a special delivery from Uncle Brian today... a new football jersey! Troy officially has more Auburn gear than Troy and Illinois combined. The great thing about the Auburn gear? It fits in perfectly in this orange and blue town :) Thanks, Uncle Brian!

this is Troy's serious quarterback pose

this is Troy not-so-serious, about-to-throw-the-ball at the camera pose :)

hugs for Daddy

Monday, August 13, 2012

breaking it in

Troy had the privilege of "breaking in" a brand new swingset tonight! Our friends Fred and Sarah are preparing for the arrival of their little guy Benjamin early next year, and this amazing new (custom made!) playset has been constructed in their backyard this summer. Thanks so much, Fred and Sarah, for having us over and opening up your playground to Troy tonight :)

Note: I let Troy bring his duplos along for our visit tonight and I quickly learned that when you let a toddler bring something from home, he will NOT part with it until we go back home. Troy carried these blocks all around their yard and house!
"I'm liking this swing!"

"This swing is even better when you have Daddy to lean up against :)"

Troy to Fred: "You may build swingsets, but I build with duplos!"

last prairie farm trip of 2012

Who knew that Prairie Farm, one of our favorite destinations this summer, closed so early?! I found out that it closed August 12 and promptly planned a visit. Our friends Su, Liam and Clara joined us too. We were ready for a great final visit to the farm and then we walked up to...closed barn doors and a sign saying the farm wouldn't be open because of storm damage :/

I should have snapped a picture of sad Troy trying to open the barn doors. He wanted in sooo badly, but instead he had to settle for watching the donkeys and goats through the fence from the outside. Don't worry, Troy, we'll have plenty more farm animals for you to visit this fall!

Friday, August 10, 2012

a helpful hand

We had our friend's 7 year old son, Payton, over for a few hours yesterday leading up to dinner. Troy absolutely adored the surprise of a "big kid" in his house when waking up from his nap and I appreciated having Payton here to help out! Payton is a big brother himself, so he was great with Troy.
Payton shows Troy a couple different things to play with at the tool bench
Payton asked if he could help with dinner, and we had a very kid-prep friendly meal (Chicken Rollups) in the works, so the answer was a resounding yes. We'll be looking forward to the next time Payton (and maybe his brother too) come hang out with us, Jenn!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

almost ready...

Many months in progress, our construction on the new kids space at church is nearly finished! In just over a month, Troy will be visiting this new wing on Sunday mornings instead of where he's currently at. Today, we were a little early to work and I thought I'd let him get his first peek at the "castle" since it has started to come together. His response? "See! See!!"

aloha morning

Troy loves these beaded leis we brought home from Hawaii. He often says "Aloha" and puts the beads on us. His fav to "aloha"? Bear :)

Here he is at breakfast, wearing beads and a diaper!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Head butt

This new game came about tonight. Mike asked me to capture it on video before I shut it down :)

splash landing

We had another pool trip today. Apparently most of the C-U area is over the pool for the summer because I've never seen it so empty on a Tuesday afternoon. Troy has this crazy running and splashing move that he does no matter where we are (keeping me an arms reach away at all times). In the kiddie pool, its pretty safe, so I grabbed my camera today to capture it :)

Friday, August 3, 2012

huey, duey and louie

Every year, some sharp bird figures out how to get into our porch light to build a nest. Fire hazard? Most definitely. So we keep that light off. But this is the first year that we've actually had baby birds hatch in our nest! We all took a peek at them today and my camera (flash free) snapped their first portrait. Then we all went back inside so mama bird could return with their dinner!

Breakfast buds

We're experimenting with letting Troy eat places other than his high chair. Here was breakfast yesterday :)

Here is another day, at his new table we just set up!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Hawaii: randoms

I have way too many photos that captured moments from our trip that don't really fit into a category... so here they are.
Morning post-breakfast walk with coffee
Chilling on the rocks
love, love hanging poolside with my guy! you can see we're well rested and having fun!
yes, folks, Mike did get in the ocean
you don't have to talk me into a dip in the ocean!
snoozin' on the sand
writing our names in the sand. its kind of hard to read though.
you can only see feet but amazingly this is mike shooting out of a waterslide! he did it a few times on different days even :)
pretty sure I had a poster hanging on my dorm room wall that looked just like this! so beautiful :)

hawaii: first class

Just realized that I never blogged about this part of our trip...sidenote to all readers that are confused as to why i'm posting about my Hawaii flight nearly three months later!

American Airlines rocks. I can't believe I forgot to blog about this part of our vacation. This was a totally unexpected blessing that was the perfect way to end our vacation. Five minutes before we boarded our 8 hour, overnight flight back home from Hawaii, our names are called up to the desk. There, the ticket agent asks for our tickets, tears them up (we still don't know what's going on) and nonchalantly passes us two new tickets and says American Airlines is pleased to upgrade us to first class for this flight. That's it.

We.were.stunned. Did that really, seriously just happen?!?

Oh yes it did....
still kind of shocked we're sitting in first class
We had eaten something small before boarding the flight, and planned to snack on mixed nuts when we got hungry. Instead, we were handed a menu and two glasses of champagne for our adventure!

Just another example of a wonderful and totally unexpected blessing...we were so thankful to be able to take a vacation like this in the first place, and then to have this experience to top it off, was amazing! Definitely a trip to remember forever :)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Hawaii: dining

The Hawaii recap continues...prepare for some delicious-looking photos of some of the highlights. Our meals were each like their own special date, and since we don't get on dates TOO often, I really enjoyed this part of vacation!

This was our daily breakfast. I know it doesn't look like much but it was perfect. A huge selection of fresh fruit. Some daily sweet bread (hello, orange pineapple coconut!). Coffee. Ocean view of the moments just after the sun rose. Leisurely reading the papers with my hubby on the terrace.
Here are our first tropical drinks the day after arriving. Happy hour at our poolside bar was lovely. Don't forget the generous slice of pineapple!
Some of our first sushi. Not the best I've ever seen, but it sure tasted delicious! And it was between pool #1 and pool #2 (afternoon pool). So it was perfect.
Thursday night, we walked 1 1/2 miles one way down the Waikiki strip and then back, stopping for food and drinks along the way for dinner. It was my favorite night experience of the trip. The first stop was "Top of Waikiki" a revolving restaurant with a perfect 18 story view of Waikiki. This chicken dish was yummy and a great way to start our evening.
Of course we had to have a photo taken with that gorgeous view behind us!

Once again, this may not look very special but WOW. This crab cake was delicious (and this is coming from a girl who normally doesn't really like crab cakes!) It was LOADED with crab and seasoned so perfectly. Not to mention this restaurant had a piano and violin playing lightly in the background, and a gorgeous ocean view outside. We probably never would have gone here for dinner but for a simple order of crab cakes, it was right up our alley!

Now this is what our destination was the entire night. The dish on the left was an award-winning dish that Mike spotted in a magazine and he really wanted to try it: panko crusted ahi sashimi sushi roll. (I definitely had to just look the name of it up to recall it all!) I also had an award-winning dish, sansei's shrimp dynamite. Mmm, seafood!
I know what you're thinking, that's not food to the left! But that was the view of the Waikiki Friday night fireworks from the balcony of the restaurant we dined at. They ushered us out on the balcony and we quickly realized they would be shooting them off directly (and I mean directly) in front of us. It was beautiful...and LOUD! The heavy smoke was really something!

Dinner was quite good but the dessert presentation was what made me pull out my camera. Mmm, chocolate cake, you could not have impressed me more!