Thursday, February 27, 2014

Hello, Sunfish :)

Our second session of swimming lessons is complete! So they had another fun day to celebrate. Troy had a blast playing in all the water features and riding (just once this time) down the "big slide" with his teacher. Even Daddy was able to come and check out Troy's awesome swimming skills!

In other big swimming news, he is going to move up a level next month! Now we have a sunfish on our hands. He started to "get" the whole arm circles thing and in the next level he will be working on pushing off from the wall and putting his arms into motion! In the sunfish level, he will learn how to front and back float on his own, front and back glide, and swim on his front and back for 15 feet. He'll probably be at that level for a little while, and I'm so excited for him to work on so many swimming skills!

Ladies Lunching, sort of :)

My friend Sarah and I have been going on regular lunch dates for years (like since 2006 or so). Our fav spots include Za's and Olive Garden (mmm, soup, salad and breadsticks). Great food combined with great conversation always.

So now our lunch dates are looking a little different these days. Two busy boys chasing after each other, plus one bouncy baby girl who will be trying to keep up before long. Happy meals instead of OG zuppa toscana. No matter what the cuisine, still very grateful for time with my friend, and all the littles in tow :) We had lots of fun playing at the play place on a cold wintery day!

The boys burning off energy by climbing and sliding, climbing and sliding, over and over...

Cassidy's love for accessories has started early. She loves scarves, necklaces and anything shiny or sparkly :)

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Cass Jumps

We were blessed with a few new-to-us pieces of baby gear on loan from friends as Cassidy grows. She just figured out that she can jump/dance/move in this jumperoo today! Note: my favorite part of this video is my son telling me that now that she knows how to jump she needs to practice staying dry (in her diaper). Uh no, boy, that would be you that needs to work on staying dry!

Snuggles all around

Both Troy and Cassidy were well-loved upon during our Chicago trip. In addition to spending the day with Nat on Friday, we saw several other family members throughout the weekend.

Below: Cassidy (looking worried for some reason lol) with my Aunti Mary, AKA my Mom's best friend from high school. She was an aunt to us growing up and now she's loving on my littles, too!

Beema loving on Cassidy. She had some fun with Troy while he was procrastinating bedtime, too1

Chatting with Gramma below ;)

Grampa the iPad expert with Cass and Troy. They were looking awfully cozy!

Mommy-Troy Date: February

Confession time. I realized last week that in exactly four months since Cassidy was born I had done exactly one thing out of the house, just me and Troy (no Cassidy along). That was a 15 minute trip to the video store. When I shared this with a friend she promptly told me to cut myself some slack, which I did, but it didn't change my desire to get some one on one time with my boy sooner than later!

While we were staying with my Mom and Dad, I left Cassidy in their capable hands for a little while so Troy and I could have our first "date". Funny to think of it that way, because four months and one week ago, every outing we had was a date. (Incredibly thankful for all those mornings I took him to Starbucks towards the end of my pregnancy!)

We started with lunch at the Choo Choo Restaurant. This tiny little diner had quite the wait even though we showed up at about 11:15 for lunch. I was SO glad there were just two of us so we could squeeze in at the counter versus waiting for a bunch of seats together like the larger parties. Troy LOVED having his food delivered on a train and watching everyone else's food go by too. Especially the birthday cupcakes sent out to all the kids who were having birthdays :)

Afterwards we visited Kiddie Kingdom, where my mom had several arcade tokens leftover from a previous visit. Troy briefly rode one of the rides but he was really interested in the games. It was the first time I saw him play arcade games. Air hockey and "whack a mole" were his favorites :)

This is him waving around the insane amounts of tickets he had won on the "catch the popcorn" game.

I saw them making up a bunch of sundaes for a birthday party in the next room and ordered one up for my boy. All in all, a fantastic time out with my son, my growing little man!

Friday, February 21, 2014

"the fun place"

Anytime we go do anything fun, I'm just going to title the blog post exactly what Troy ends up calling it :)

Today's adventure was "the fun place" AKA the Skokie Exploratorium. I read about it on the Chicago Kids website and thought it sounded like a good place to try out and burn off some energy. Troy's favorite part of the day was "fishing" in their water play area, while MY favorite part of the day was hours of girly chat time with my best and oldest friend Natalie (20 yrs of history and friendship!), who spent the day with the kids and I.

There was a tunnel under the water table and a spot to pop your head up through the "bubble" as the water came pouring down.

Could.not.leave. the water table for the first hour or so we were there.

Then we made our way over to the multi-story indoor climbing maze. It was deceiving as we walked towards it and it wasn't until I sent my son into it that I realized just how ginormous it was. Literally he disappeared within seconds, re-emerging only once in a 45 minute period. And at the very end he was beet red and sweaty from playing so hard!

Meanwhile, we girls sat on the sidelines and waited for him to emerge while chatting :)

A rare (and brief) sighting of my son, traversing a netted bridge.

Grampa's Girl

Before Cassidy's bedtime, she settled in to watch some action-packed basketball with Grampa. She was glued to the game (and Grampa was glued to her!)

A good work with all those forklifts

As we drove up to Chicago, we stopped in to see Grampa at his work. Or, as Troy called it later, "a good work all those forklifts". Grampa's work (AKA the beer company) was like Troy's own personal touch-a-truck event, along with his "costume" of a safety vest and everything :)

Grampa took us around to say hello to a few people before heading into the warehouse. Troy asked each person, "do YOU know where the forklifts are?" So at long last, we walked out to the warehouse.

First we found the friendly forklift driver DB who befriended Troy on his visit last year and let him "drive" the forklift. Troy was so happy to honk the horn and flash the lights. Then we watched DB move the gigantic pallets of beer.

Another truck for Troy to "drive" in the warehouse.

Another highlight was watching the fully automated system that packages the orders that come in and prepares them for leaving the warehouse. Conveyor belts moving all around the warehouse, stacking pallets and finally, shrink wrapping them together, provided PLENTY of entertainment for this boy!

When we were all done, we headed back to the office to get ready to finish our drive to Gramma and Grampa's house. Something tells me Grampa wouldn't get much done if he had these two cuties "helping" him at work everyday!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Cassidy is 4 months old!

Okay, prepare for photo overload :)

Cassidy is 4 months old! Ahhh! Another month has flown by in her little life. It still feels like she's been a part of our family forever, but yet I can recount the details of the day she was born so clearly still. I love you baby girl!

Eating: Cass still eats about 8 times a day, sometimes 1 or 2 more. She eats much more quickly these days and can get a full feeding in 15 minutes or less if need be. But there's several times a day I let her take her time so I can get in lots of snuggles! In other eating-related news, breastfeeding has improved yet again this month (hooray!) We gladly ditched the nipple shield I had been using for parts of feedings since the early weeks right after she turned three months old. I definitely need to type up a little bit on our breastfeeding journey soon! I had to snap a photo of these gorgeous eyes gazing back at me while nursing :)

Sleeping: Cass is a cat-napper. Mostly short naps around a half hour, and hopefully, at least one per day in the late morning or early afternoon that lasts at least an hour, sometimes two. They're kind of all over the place and she takes them as she needs to. Bedtime is around 7, and she usually gets up again about an hour or so later, I feed her again and she's back down. She sleeps a long time (which I'm still incredibly grateful for). Usually around 8 hours before getting up to eat, but her record is 10 1/2 (that was nice!) I've been working on her falling asleep on her own, and sometimes it goes really well and other times not so much. Like all her sleep steps (moving from bassinet to crib, ditching the swaddle, etc.), we've started with naps and then work on bedtime.

Playing: Cassidy plays now! She reaches for toys, puts things in her mouth, crinkles books, etc. She loves upright things like exersaucers and jumperoos. She loves interacting with her brother and laughs at him a lot. He's a little jealous of some of her baby toys and says "Mommy, she's sharing her (insert toy here) with me!" as he runs away with it. Mmm hmmm.

New things she's doing: Hmm, I can't think of anything too new and exciting. Just refining skills she already had been working on. She did spend an overnight away from Mommy so that was a pretty big "new thing!" And she started childcare at church while I work two mornings a week, too!

Clothes: Almost all 3-6 months. Though this weekend, she wore a 3 month onesie, 6 month pants and 9 month shirt. So tell me how that works! Incredibly thankful to have been blessed with some more hand me downs from our friend Lilah!

Likes: Bouncing. Playing. "Talking." Being a part of the conversation. Baths with Mommy. Watching Big Bro. Watching TV (sigh).

Dislikes: Getting out of baths. Getting buckled into the carseat. Getting buckled into really anything. She wants to be free!

More photos below from her latest photo shoot! Thanks for getting so many great ones, Carrie! (Another post to come on the whole photo session, including Troy, soon!)

Tuesday, February 18, 2014


Its been about a week since Troy fell asleep in his bed at naptime. We still put him in there every day but he takes a toy with and plays until we go get him. Alas, he still needs sleep though and I'm getting quite the full collection of sleeping Troy pics. I send them to Mike with #napfail for some entertainment. Here's a few from the past week! (My favorite would be the Meijer shopping cart while I was checking out.)

Monday, February 17, 2014

Sunday Brunch

Uncle Andy and Auntie Daria were spending a night in Champaign-Urbana, so we made plans to have brunch together before they left town. (Actually we made plans to have breakfast earlier, that later turned into post-church brunch. Something about being out late...ah, to be young again!) 

Forgive my poor photo, but Troy was super happy to have them playing at his house with his toys. And Cassidy, well she's just happy no matter what :) Love you guys, thanks so much for coming by!

Brunch was a delish breakfast casserole that I made the night before to have ready. Click here for the recipe!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Valentine's Day

We had a fun Valentine's Day this year! It started last week with an afternoon visit to the local nursing home, where Troy worked the room during jazz band time with his heart stickers. Lots of the residents living there stuck the stickers on their wheelchairs, sweaters or even their cheeks :) I was so proud of Troy and how outgoing he was in talking with the seniors. (Check out a short article I did for by clicking here after this experience.)

Then on actual Valentine's Day, we started the day by making a couple different kinds of treats for some friends and Mike's co-workers. We made oreo suckers first, which I thought would be much easier than cake pops, and while they were, they were also a bit more work than I expected. In the end I was pleased with how they turned out though, and Troy was able to help dip them which was a big help. Then we made these sweet kabobs with a marshmallow, strawberry and homemade brownie bite. They were delicious! We skipped the chocolate drizzle since they were so enjoyable without it :)

After our treat making, we had a fun playdate with our friends Michelle and Madelynn. At the very end we let them each have a treat and they both picked sweet kabobs, or as Troy called them, strawberry on a stick. Strangely the strawberry was the main attraction for him, not the marshmallow or brownie.

I was trying to catch a quick pic of Cassidy in her Valentine's outfit (thanks Alicia!) when she got photo-bombed by a couple of three year olds. It was impossible to tell them to stop because it was so cute how sweet they were with Cass and trying to get her to smile. 

Madelynn brought play-doh hearts for Troy, Cassidy and I. Here's Troy holding up his play-doh heart for me to see and take a picture of. Because he wanted to see the picture, haha.

Then we all took a trip over to Gill to drop off our morning's work. Daddy let Troy type on his computer and I don't know what Troy was saying or doing here, but Mike was definitely laughing at him.

I can't make a Valentine's post without giving a shout out to my very special Valentine... love you, Mike! Thanks for telling me how much you love me every day of the year, not just on Valentine's Day :) 

And now some bonus Cassidy photos. Just because :)