Sunday, June 29, 2014

Her eyes say it all

The kids and I are in the middle of several days staying with my parents here in Chicago and all I have to say is thank God for grandparents :) Lots of blogging to catch up on but here's one to hold you over. Cass had her first taste of a Chicago style hot dog and her eyes say it all. I felt like she was asking, "Mommy, is this beef grass-fed and local?"

Thursday, June 26, 2014

"I wanna say cheese with her!"

Prairie Farm Visit

After last month's failed Prairie Farm trip with our friends Sarah and Benjamin, we had a re-do this week. And it was actually open this time! It was a hot day and we were there right at feeding time for the animals. Troy and Benjamin stood talking to the cows for awhile. And my boy decided to stick his hand in near the hay while they were eating and almost got chomped by a cow... thankful that didn't happen!

So much running going on with these boys!

Afterwards, we were all pretty hungry so I decided to treat my babies (and myself) to dinner at Panera. They were both incredibly well behaved and good eaters! Mommy win!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Cassidy is around 8 months old!

Happy 8ish months to you Cassidy! I confess, I *almost* let this blog post slip by, since I'm already late by three days past your 8 months. But for you, girly, here it is!

Eating: Cassidy eats nearly everything we do now, three meals a day (if we're home) and usually an afternoon snack in there. My favorite thing for her to snack on are baby mum-mums, or any fruit we have on hand cut up. She also loves cheerios! As for the rest of our food, she hasn't met much she doesn't like. She usually tries everything. Let's keep it up girl! Nothing like having a baby in the house that's eating all your same meals to make you really critique what you're putting on your own plate these days. Cass is nursing about six times throughout the day and add to that whatever she does overnight...

Sleeping: Oh dear girl, I love you so. I'll preface this section by saying that. And I'll say, remember the days when you slept 8 hours to start the night? Cass still loves and prefers to be awake during the day, though we've made strides in her naps with her increase in activity these days. She usually takes two naps and, if I'm lucky, they're around an hour or a tad longer. She fights them, but she takes them. And then, oh the unpredictability that are our overnights. Poor girl has been cutting teeth (second one erupted today during a very failed nap!) and just to give you a glimpse, two nights ago she slept all night and last night she was up every 1-2 hours. Who knows what tonight has in store. Praying we can get through the early teething stage and she (and I!) can both start consistently sleeping better overnight. And like I said, I love you Cassidy!

Playing: All toys are fair game! She can tip over our toy buckets, reach into the drawers of the train table, etc. While Troy was gone this weekend, I put away a few toys we had with small pieces so she can't get to them for now. She likes crawling holding on to a matchbox car and she likes when Troy or I line up a bunch of little people and their animals for her to "shop" from :) Check out the video to the left for the most unexciting minute of your day. But I'm trying to be better about taking more videos as these days are quickly flying by...

New things she's doing: Army crawling! "Push ups" as she practices hands and knees position. She got into a sitting position once on her own this weekend but hasn't done it again. And she's trying hard to pull up. If you stand her up and let her hold onto something she'll gladly stand there. She also cut her first two teeth (bottom two) and the top ones aren't far behind...

Clothes: Mostly 12 months, with some 9 month dresses and skirts hanging on still :) Diapers are size three for now.

Likes: Anything other than going to sleep. Really! She's fairly easy to please. She loves her brother, her "dada" and me. I think she thinks we're all pretty funny. Baths are great, the pool is fun, walks are good. Really, aside from sleep stuff, she is an INCREDIBLY happy and easy going baby. INCREDIBLY. Feel completely blessed by her every single day.

Dislikes: Sleep time. 'nuf said.

Not sure on her stats but she's growing like crazy!! Just check out those rolls, you can't miss them :) This stage of babyhood is positively delightful, as she usually smells like a combo of strawberries, avocados and mama's milk, coos and smiles and laughs like crazy and just loves living life. I pray that over you all the time sweet girl, keep on loving life!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

these two

Such love between these two. They missed each other so much. Moments like this just make me melt into a puddle of mommy mush!

Troy, Gramma and Grampa's Weekend

Troy packed Daddy's his red duffel bag and headed north for a weekend of fun with his grandparents! He always has a blast with them (2013, 2012) and we're always grateful for all the love they pour into him while he's in their care! Some highlights below :)

Troy loves playing in the basement with all the Playmobil toys Mom and Dad saved from our childhood. Now I know why my brother and I loved playing with this stuff so much. Truly a great collection of toys for boys and girls together!

Hanging out in the yard with the dogs. Bear still enjoys laying down in the pool to keep cool :)

Troy's fun adventure with Gramma and Grampa was to a kids amusement park called Pirate's Cove. It sounds like it was perfect for kids his age as everything was built just for them :)

I can't believe how big he looks in this photo. And how skillful he looks too! May have to take him rock climbing at the Y soon :)

Hot dog break with Grampa! Only a little jealous of my son that he got Portillos this weekend :)

When we met up with Gramma and cousin Emmy for lunch, Cassidy got in lots of snuggles with Gramma :)

Love this photo and it wasn't even posed. I was moving the carseat over in the DQ parking lot and Mom sat down with all the kids out of the way of the parking lot. They looked so peaceful, sitting in the fields in front of the interstate and I just thought, yep, this is what we live among, and I love it.

Mommy and Cass Weekend

Knowing my hubby would be out of town, my mom and dad kindly offered to take Troy to their house for a couple days for a little grandparent vacation. I honestly could not even remember in my mind what it was like to have one kid to think about, let alone one kid at Cassidy's age (so easy to entertain, barely mobile, etc.) Though I really have a hard time saying goodbye to my kids for any length of time, I knew Troy was in good hands and planned to soak up my Cassidy time as much as possible. And soak, I did :) Some highlights below.

Cassidy+Starbucks frappachino+Starbucks patio+Macbook = 90 minutes of mommy bliss while my daughter people watched

Selfie at Starbucks. Enjoying our very first mother daughter weekend!

Cassidy thoroughly enjoyed having the toys all to herself without anyone (ahem, cough) telling her what to play with, how to play with it and then promptly taking it away just when she got interested. Not like that happens to her ever...

Made the best salad ever including freshly grilled chicken, a homemade dressing and more. Cassidy sat in her highchair and watched me put it all together. I don't think I've made anything this pretty and delicious for myself, um, ever.

It was a great and relaxing time for me! My biggest takeaways for parents of one child that plan to add a second some day would be 1) enjoy the simplicity of nap/bedtime, 2) be more spontaneous (Don't people say that to people with no kids, too? Truth, you can still be spontaneous with one kid. Your one child can go pretty much anywhere and do anything with you. More than that and it gets challenging...) And 3) Soak up every moment with your first child you can! Moments to "soak" are limited the second time around! I'm just incredibly grateful I got this opportunity before Cassidy's babyhood completely disappeared! 

Mr. Caleb

My friend (and as you may know her, my fabulous photographer) Carrie had her first baby two months ago. This past weekend, Cassidy and I got to spend some time with him while his mama and dad did photography-related things :) Oh, newborns. The teeny-tinyness of them. Their adorable little noises. This stage already feels like so long ago in our house so I was glad to get some moments with Caleb!

He's a snuggly little guy so I thought he might like my ring sling. Verdict? Absolutely yes! He was immediately out!

He watched Cassidy play closely while he was awake. Not too sure about all those things she was clanging around!

This video of them was too precious. Oh, baby love!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Summer Lovin'

Earlier this week, we had the pleasure of meeting up with some friends at Toddler Swim Time at our new pool in the morning. This swim time may be the best kept secret in C-U as it has EVERYTHING a kid Troy's age could want and isn't crowded at all. And there's a ton of lifeguards keeping an eye on all the littles :) When Cassidy fell asleep on my chest, in the water, for more than a half hour, I soaked it in and called it a "mommy bliss" moment.

So today we headed back for toddler swim time again. We were the first (and only) ones there for the first 45 minutes! Okay so its good there are no crowds but there need to be SOME kids there for Troy to play with! Eventually a few showed up. But before that, I took a photo of Cass in the water :) If her brother is a fish, she's a fish in training! She's loving the pool time!

After about an hour and a half at the pool, Cass started to get tired. Mommy decision moment. Pack up and call it a success or see if she'll sleep at the pool so Troy can keep playing. Amazingly, it was a pool nap success!

Cassidy's nap gave me time to give undivided attention to my boy. We both loved this time :) Eventually we even got in the water again while Cass snoozed poolside and played and played and played and swam and swam and raced each other. This would be mommy bliss moment #2 of the week :)

In all seriousness, this summer has been beyond my dreams already. I'm having so much fun with my kids and feel incredibly blessed to be their mom and live the life we lead. I know I will look back on this special summer for years and years to come, and am trying to freeze these moments in time as best as I possibly can!

Troy's first VBS

With having a preschooler now (whaaaaat...) come all kinds of new opportunities. One of which, is to go to things like VBS! A nearby church was having a VBS this week in the afternoons and I signed Troy up. He had an absolute blast, and when I told him he was going back for a second day, his response was, "WAHOOOO!"

Here's a picture of him with his group just as the songs started one day. I loved how the littlest guys and gals sit right in the front :)

Somehow I missed the memo when we signed up that they'd be feeding my son dinner every night before we picked up. He was ecstatic about this, of course. I'm not sure if he was happier 1) that he got to drink lemonade with his meal or 2) that they brought dessert around as soon as the meal was over. Don't be looking for the tray of brownies and other goodies after our next dinner, Troy! :)

Thanks Trinity Lutheran for a really fun week! And for teaching my kid some fun new songs to sing to Jesus, too :) 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Date Night: Yellowfin

Mike and I snuck in a last minute date before a crazy couple weeks coming up tonight! Thanks to my wonderful friend Michelle (thank you!), Cass and Troy were in good hands for us to get some time out on our own this evening. We wanted to go out for sushi and hadn't been to Yellowfin in a LONG time (last visit was with John and Elissa, our first small group leaders, and was at least four years ago!) So after a couple delicious rounds of sushi, we headed across the street for some custard at Jarlings :) Just enough time to have a meal ourselves and still get our kiddos to bed on time. Love you baby, dates with you NEVER get old!

A couple of our rolls below, Mike's rainbow roll and my spicy shrimp.

Jackalope and Shotput

This weekend we had the privilege of hosting a guest of Mike's at our house for a few meals. Not only was he a really nice guy, but he also has a few trips to the Olympics and some medals, too! And Troy just loved hanging with "Daddy's friend John with the shotput". Troy practiced throwing his own "shotput" ahead of John's arrival and later broke down proper shotput technique to explain to ten year old Ethan completely unprompted. It was HILARIOUS and spot on. Future coach perhaps?

John told Troy there was a jackalope (AKA "the bunny with the horns") in our yard and as the weekend went on, the jackalope hunting got even more intense, with helmet wearing and sending him into the garage only to knock on the wall from the outside. Also hilariously fun!

We also had our friends Laura, Leah and Ethan over for one of our cookouts this weekend! Cassidy was dishing out lots of love to Leah and Laura and they got lots of snuggles in!

And a random from the weekend. This girl is SO pleased that she can move around now and sneak up on her bro. This face cracks me up!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Summer at the Pines

This weekend must have been official summer kickoff weekend in C-U. So many fests and outdoor concerts going on and it was hard to choose what to do! We settled on our weekly spin through the Farmer's Markey on Saturday, followed up with a trip to "Summer at the Pines" (the Pines is a small shopping/restarant/business area near our house in Urbana). The giant inflatables were of course a huge draw.

And so were the various animals. These guys came with the team that was talking about composting, I believe.

The mobile zoo was there too. They're really making the rounds this summer! Troy touching the baby crocodile below. 

And eye to eye with a "slippery" snake, in his words.

The Little Gym is usually a place we only visit during open houses and such, so this was a good day to pop in since they had their doors open to the community.

Finally Troy wanted to plant a flower and decorate a flower pot. He was incredibly disappointed he couldn't pot the actual flower himself and the woman did it for him. She told him it was "because she'd get it right the first time". He wasn't a fan of that answer as he said he knew how to plant flowers, too!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Pool time

Much like you were probably bored of the park posts in early spring, you'll likely tire of my many pool posts this summer. Per Beema's request, I made sure to snap a few photos during our time today. It was blissfully empty when we arrived for our early season pass holder entry for the first time. Of course it filled up a little later on but it was still wonderful!

Mobile and loving it

Cassidy is mobile! She's already got herself into some sticky situations, see her worried face below as she got herself under the train table and couldn't figure out how to get out. She's doing some funny army crawl thing where she drags a leg and uses her knee to move herself along. A few videos below to document it since I'm sure she'll be legit crawling soon :) My girl is getting so big!

Daddy's Airplane

We hadn't been to our local airport recently to pick up Mike but he was car-less upon this arrival so we had a visit :) We thankfully made it in time to see the plane land and Troy promptly screamed "HI DADDY!!!!!!!" and waved like a crazy person while jumping up and down. I love him :)

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Mama bunny and her babies

This would be the second bunny family that has moved into our yard this year. Now that Bear has moved on to her retirement home in Chicago, our yard apparently is a bunny's dream home. For some reason, I've been fascinated by "mama bunny" since we discovered she had her babies in our yard two weeks ago. One evening as I nursed and nursed Cass, I glimpsed outside and saw mama bunny hop over to her hole and hop away a few short minutes later. Thanks to google, I found out baby bunnies only need to be tended to FIVE minutes a day to nurse and otherwise mama pretty much leaves them alone so she doesn't give away their location. She just keeps an eye on things nearby.

Last night, I was cleaning the kitchen when I saw her hop over to the hole to give her babies their daily feeding. I watched them crawl out of the hole and eat for a couple minutes and then she stuck her head down the hole and basically shooed them out. I hadn't actually seen the babies (Mike and Troy had earlier though) so I rushed out to the yard with my camera. They were SO cute! And BIG! They'll likely be moving out soon, if they haven't already. Troy will miss watching mama bunny move around our yard!

Here she is tending to the babies.

And there they are! Two cuties!

Baby bunny portrait below :)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

St Louis Trip: Sunday Family Day

Mike didn't have any work obligations until his flight later in the day, so Sunday was for family fun! After an amazing breakfast (seriously, stay at this Hilton if you're ever in St Louis) we headed down to the pool for a morning dip. Troy couldn't wait to swim in the "deep, deep pool" with us. Cassidy was pretty happy too :)

Afterwards it was time to get ready for the zoo! When we went last year, it was 90+ degrees, I was 6 months pregnant, and we saw exactly three animals (no exaggerating). St Louis Zoo is huge (and FREE) and the weather was just perfect for a zoo, not too hot but nice and sunny out this year. We walked in and this parrot stared down Troy :)

Troy thought this snake was real. Until he realized it was not. Even when he thought it was real, he walked right up to it. No.fear.ever.

Another really cool area was the butterfly dome. I love these things! The butterflies don't really land on you they kind of just swarm you. And you're not supposed to touch them. We did tell Troy to put out his hands though in case one of them *wanted* to land on him :)

Cass was due for a nursing break so we girls relaxed while the boys continued to walk around a bit. I had to make sure Cass was all happy and content because the next thing up was...

My favorite part of the day! Last year I took Troy in to touch the sting rays and sharks. It's one of the main draws here, you have to buy tickets, wait in a line, etc. Let the suspense build! Well he obviously remembered because he asked about it repeatedly while we walked through the zoo. We just had to do it again. We decided Mike would stay with Cass while I took Troy in. A mini mother-son date! Another reminder that I need to focus on spending time just with him, as I so enjoyed our time together :)

Below, Troy is touching a shark!

We're both touching a sting ray that's swimming by.

We stayed in there a really, really long time. Eventually I took a photo of us to capture the moment. We were both so happy, enjoying the time together and getting splashed by the rays!

On the way out, I stopped some locals to snap a photo of us. Lesson 1, don't tell 3 yr old he's leaving the zoo and THEN take his picture. Lesson 2, don't stand my infant daughter in front of a fountain and expect her to look away. A classic photo right here folks!

After the zoo, we had a bite to eat and took Mike to the airport. On the way home, Troy stayed awake (the whole time) and we talked. About the trip, about the things we did, about where Daddy was going, etc. Troy loves to have us "talk about it" in other words tell a story. So he asked me to "talk about" Daddy flying on the airplane. I cooked up every detail I could possibly imagine from walking through security to take off to snacks :) 

It was obvious in our convo that Troy had a blast. And even though I think we were all a bit tired after restless sleep in the hotel room and such, it was SO worth it to make memories together as a family. I love you, Mike, Troy and Cass and I love our adventures together! Feeling so blessed.