Tuesday, April 30, 2013

First spring trip to Homer Lake

One of my favorite spots to spend a sunny day is Homer Lake, a local forest preserve. Its about 15 minutes away and sometimes I just get the urge to go out there. Before Troy came onto the scene, we'd just take Bear out there, as its pretty easy to let a dog swim out there :) But today just Troy and I went, much like this trip we made last spring around the same time!

85 degrees out and it.was.amazing! Troy was so curious about the water and watching it when we first arrived. I think this boy is going to like to fish in a couple years!






After we walked around a little, we checked out the new "natural playscape" that opened last fall. What is a "natural playscape" you ask? I think the basic idea is to provide a safe(r) place for kids to do things like climb on rocks, splash in lakes and other random things that parents let their kids do 50 years ago but we've somehow deemed unsafe now :) That's just my uneducated interpretation.

Whatever you want to call it, Troy loved it. There were lots of other kids there of all ages and he had a blast. He started out with his shoes on and just looking at the water and before long we were taking shoes off and hopping in just like the rest of the kids. I can't wait to take him back, and maybe bring some of our friends with for a picnic too!





Monday, April 29, 2013

Party on the farm

2 year olds get a bad rep. Tantrums and other craziness adds up to the famed "terrible twos" when you talk to most people. And, yes, my kid has his fair share of two year old craziness. But there is TONS to love about this age too!

Take for example the other night. Mike's away on a trip and I'm cleaning up the kitchen from dinner (okay, the last three nights of dinner... like I said, Mike was away!) And Troy comes to get me (awesome thing #1 about two year olds- they like playing on their own!) and says (awesome thing #2- they talk in sentences, sort of!) "Mommy, come see!" I come see and he is SO PROUD of himself (awesome thing #3) for making a party in the farm. He proceeds to list off all the animals and people ("girls" and "man") and then continues to play and show me things.


I took this video right at the same time. He was just being too adorable. And I don't have many videos of Troy talking these days, and his vocabulary is increasing a TON (awesome thing #4). So, for all you grandparents out there, enjoy this video of Troy playing :) 

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Here to stay?

We got to spend a LOT of time outside this week (thankfully!) making me think it actually is really, truly here to stay now. (Sidebar: I realized that our pool opens in exactly one month I think... that seems like SUCH a long shot right now, but I'm believing it'll warm up by then so we can fully enjoy it!)

Anyways, here's a few photos from outside this week. Enjoy!

We pulled up to our favorite park and Troy wanted to go for a walk versus playing on the playground. After a stroll on the path, he made sure we squeezed in some playground time!
Almost nightly walks to the neighborhood playground. Bear likes these because she gets to come with :) 
Troy has taught himself how to climb these rock walls now. Another new skill for my sporty little guy! 
Enjoying the outdoor rockers at Cracker Barrel with Gramma :) 
Troy got Gramma to go down the slide with him :) 

We had a visit out to Mahomet to take a walk with our friends. Ethan was eager to share his basketball with Troy and Troy couldn't have been more thrilled to play with it!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Mmm...pickles

Seriously Troy, who's the pregnant one here?!? Pickles and milk!

16 week update

Sixteen weeks! In celebration of one month to our sono, I've added a poll to the right. Cast your votes now if you think baby Cunningham is a boy or girl, you've only got a few weeks to get your guesses in!

Had a check-up with another midwife yesterday and it went well. I'm doing well. Baby is doing well. Her comment this month was "what a great kid" (to follow up last month when the midwife commented "what a cooperative kid"). I realize, folks, this is completely crazy to be predicting a child's temperament based on how easy it is to locate and listen to their heartbeat, but whatever, still documenting it :)

I've finally gained a couple pounds with this kiddo! (Only time in life where gaining weight is celebrated!) We talked a little about how this pregnancy is different than the last, some of the symptoms I'm experiencing (hello burping!) and other things.

I told Troy that I had a check-up at the end of the day and he was very interested in "doctor checking baby". I hope to bring him with for an appointment somewhere down the road so he can hear the heartbeat :)

That's about it for this week. Me and my teeny avocado are off to bed now!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Illini Family Fun Fest

Almost missed this one this year! I was checking the Fighting Illini calendar for it semi-regularly until a week or two ago and figured it wasn't going to be held this year. Alas, it popped up on the community calendar this week! Added bonus was that Mike was home for it this year to come with for the fun too!

The inflatables were the major draw this year. Bounce house, giant slide and an inflatable helmet. What more could a 2 yr old want!?







After spending the majority of the time on the things above, we finally got Troy to go play with some of the players on the field. Here he is doing his first agility drills. 


"Touchdown!"

Good luck next year, Illini! Thanks for a really fun day!

"Watch me, Mommy!"

Not sure when Troy picked up this phrase but as I cooked dinner the other night I heard it repeatedly :) In this particular instance, he was launching something off a spatula. Definitely worth watching!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Fifteen Week Update

Fifteen weeks pregnant yesterday! Looking forward to meeting another midwife at another checkup next week. Really, really looking forward to getting the date for our sono on the calendar next month :)

More baby movement happening this week, including the first thing that felt more like a thump than a bubbly flutter. I'm excited for a month or two down the road when the baby will kick hard enough for Troy to be able to feel it. He is still pretty into talking to the baby and praying for him/her and looking at my belly. And, yes, he asks daily if baby can come out now.

I've felt really great this week! A couple of junk food cravings that I've mostly avoided (except for the ice cream now sitting in my freezer) and plenty of the good-for-me stuff too. Definitely noticing the belly growing a bit each week now. Troy has to wiggle around to get comfy in my lap for stories :) The weather has been pretty yucky this week so I haven't had much opportunity to take walks. Hoping that next week brings sunnier skies so we can get back out to get some fresh air!

Updated belly pic below. Don't know why I always think to take these while I'm hanging in Troy's room!

Monday, April 15, 2013

growing green

You may remember last year's herb tower project... Granny told me that her herbs come back each year (keep in mind they barely get down into the freezing temps during "winter") so I was optimistic that I would see some of last year's herbs, but expected to have to replant. Imagine my surprise when, despite no effort of my own, my chives sprung up! I'm really excited to see if all the others will follow. Its just great to see things "greening up" around here :) Now I'm off to pin recipes that have chives so I can enjoy this year's first "crop"...

Sunday, April 14, 2013

April Chicago Visit

The three of us planned a trip up to Chicago for the weekend to hang at Gramma and Grampa's house. Originally we thought we'd make a trip to the zoo and enjoy some playtime in the sun. Never would have thought we would have had snow flurries on a Saturday in April, so alas, the zoo will wait until later this spring or summer. Not to worry, we found plenty of things to do indoors!

Troy loves all the different toys at his grandparents' house. Particularly Uncle Andy's collection of matchbox cars from the late 80s :) He lined them all up a couple different occasions throughout the living room.


Showing Gramma all about the workings of a garbage truck...

Staying up late to cheer on the Blackhawks, jersey and all.

On Saturday, a bunch of us went out for a lunch at the new Hofbrauhaus. They have live German music all day and it was somewhere different to try. Troy ended up having lots of fun, on top of eating a ton of food while we were there.

This parade seems to be the memory marker of the weekend. He was talking about it on the drive home earlier today. He thought it was so awesome that he got to wave a flag of his own. He started out at the very back of the line and as soon as they got going, he worked his way up to the front. The waitress came over to me and said "get that kid in track!" If she only knew he was practicing "ready, set, go" racing positions in our backyard already with his daddy, haha.

His second favorite highlight would be his chance to "ring the bells" with Grampa. We later played this video for him and he went to grab his sippy cup to "raise his glass". Yep, that's what he learned this weekend.




Several of our family members returned from a trip to Vegas this week, with photo memories in front of beautiful hotels and swimming in gorgeous pools. For those of us that didn't make the trip, we took a visit over to our nearby "Vegas" for  my Gramma (Troy's great grandmother) to show us how its done :) It was a fun afternoon and we had to take our own picture on the "strip" in front of the casino on our way out to commemorate!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

14 week update

14 weeks today! I have definitely had a "pregnant" week. Some pretty wonderful nights of sleep with minimal waking, lots of time with my feet up (the return of the box under my desk at work to get comfy!) and appetite shifts like none other. Literally I will start cooking something and by the time we're eating it, I have zero desire to eat it and want something different. :/

I'm feeling very thankful this week- thankful for a healthy start to pregnancy, thankful for good rest, the means to buy healthy food. I don't know why I'm looking at everything with this perspective this week, but I am. Being constantly reminded of the good things God is doing is never a bad thing anyways :)

I seem to be getting a little bit rounded this week, but just the slightest bit. I'm cautiously optimistic that I will grow a little more slowly overall this pregnancy, hopefully resulting in less weight gain and fewer aches and pains throughout :) All in all, I'm pretty much able to do everything "normal" with Troy (parks, playing, etc), its just things around the house that are suffering from my lack of energy. And Mike's current stretch of three day weekends have been just the solution to keeping things in order these days... another thing to be very thankful for!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Troy's top tips to procrastinate bedtime


  1. "I potty!"
  2. "Snuggle me, Mommy"
  3. "Pray for baby!"
  4. "Twinkle star" (sing)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Where the people go??

Today we stopped by a park on the way home from work so Troy could play for a little while. This particular park isn't usually crowded, but there's always some people playing there. Not when we first arrived today though! Poor Troy got out of the car and ran towards the park before screeching to a halt. "Mommy, where the people go?" Thankfully some families showed up within ten minutes or so and Troy enjoyed the company. 1 yr old Troy could have cared less about other people at the park but 2 yr old Troy is all about having buddies to chase after!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Product recommendation: Melissa and Doug crayons

This weekend, we went to a a very fun kids event here in town. To say we walked away with tons of pieces of papers and goodies would be an understatement. Some things were great (giant coloring sheets and an inflatable ball) and some, not so much (a bus eraser that my son just had to "taste"). We also got a few packages of free crayons that Troy was excited about!

But then this morning, this is what turned up on my floor. Torn up paper from crayon wrappers :( This would be on top of the already half broken crayons on my floor and Troy's table. Poor crayons!


So why am I blogging about crayons? About five months ago, we ordered a bunch of Melissa and Doug supplies from a local co-op and one of the things I ordered were these revolutionary crayons.  Seriously, moms, dads, grandparents, you are missing OUT if you don't have these crayons. I haven't dealt with a broken crayon or torn crayon paper in months thanks to these lovelies! Troy colors with them several times a week (and has for months) and they barely look worn. This is a photo of them today, after we threw away our freebies and got out our regulars :) I love their little carrying case because Troy can pick them up himself and put them away. Not like squishing them into a semi-broken cardboard box!


So that's the only reason of this blog post. Because when I see a good product, I want to tell everyone I know about it. And these, my friends, are a FIND! You will not regret switching to them as you will most definitely get your money's worth! And never have to clean up crayon paper :) 

Bubbles!

Who doesn't love playing with bubbles on a warm spring day?!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Young Children's Expo

Looking for something to do this morning, we planned to head over to Lincoln Square Mall for the Young Children's Expo. It was a little bit of everything- touch a truck, instrument "petting zoo", large characters walking around and a crazy number of booths from local community organizations. It was an awesome event! While a bit crowded inside, the touch a truck out in the parking lot was the highlight for us anyways, and there was plenty to see :)

Troy had no hesitation in letting the fireman put him right up in the truck this time, or checking out any of the other vehicles for that matter.


The line for this truck was a bit long but all Troy wanted to do was walk around it anyways, so we let him climb inside the big "scoop".

His favorite thing was to "ride" the bus. He didn't want to get off! We sat on there for several minutes. I think he was waiting for it to start up and go somewhere : )



There was a fun little gymnastics area that he went through several times.

Buddy the Dinosaur from Dinosaur Train was one of the many characters present. ALL the other ones he was terrified of (Buzz Lightyear, Nemo, Woody from Toy Story) but he really wanted to see Buddy. We tried to catch Buddy twice, and the second time we got very close, but Buddy took lots of water breaks and Troy never got a chance to talk to him. He did follow him aways back as he left for his break though!

Troy (and I) got our hands on a violin for the first time today too, in the "musical petting zoo". The teacher quickly came over to assist us as I had absolutely no clue what I was doing to help poor Troy attempt to make music.

Day off errands and first bike

After a crazy month in March, Mike has been able to have a few three day weekends this month, getting in lots of quality time with us :) Yesterday, we went out to run errands during the morning and he commented how empty all the stores were since he's never out shopping on a weekday.

With that being said, we had a little bit of fun while perusing the men's clearance section. Troy wears red well, don't ya think?


One of our next stops was to spend a Christmas gift card Troy received especially for "something with wheels". (Thanks Granny!) We decided to get him a small bike with training wheels, as his knees pretty much hit his chest on the tricycle.

He fits perfectly on the bike and absolutely loves it. He just can't quite coordinate pedaling it yet :) Each attempt will come a little more naturally, I'm sure!


Thursday, April 4, 2013

13 weeks... second trimester!


Basically one third of the way there! I type this update from my chaise with my feet up, and I'm yawning. Pretty typical for 8:30 at night these days. I've been heading to bed somewhere between 8:30 and 9 most nights, it just seems like that's as late as I can make it. Thankfully I have plenty of energy to get through the days without a nap, though I take any opportunity I can on the weekends to lay down, and if need be, fall asleep :) 

I'm definitely feeling pregnant (though barely looking it still) these days. This pregnancy is more and more different from the last one, though still completely "normal" by definition. Its just the little subtleties like what I'm snacking on, the slow return of my appetite, the way my belly changes from week to week... all these "different" things are leading me to change my prediction from baby boy to baby girl for now. On the other hand, Troy has been praying for the baby pretty much daily and emphatically tells me "its BROTHER" when he's talking to the baby. So who knows. 

I am so thankful that its warming up outside, because this mama loves to get some fresh air! Whether it be just airing out the house or a quick pre-bedtime walk to the park to play with neighbors, I'll gladly choose the outdoors versus indoors. Now if I could just drag my comfy chair outside....

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Happy Easter!

Easter Sunday was a great day! It was gorgeous outside so after church Troy and Mike spent an hour outside on their adventure through the "fields" behind our house (Troy's still talking about how much fun that was), then after Troy's nap we made our first trip of the year to our favorite park, Meadowbrook! Here's a few photos from the day below :)






We had a ham for dinner, not necessarily because that's traditional Easter food but more that it was just CHEAP and we've been able to use the leftovers all week long. Scrambled eggs with ham, Mike's lunch salads with ham and hard boiled eggs, and some delicious ham and potato lunches for me :) I should have bought an extra ham and thrown it in the freezer for down the road with how cheap they were!