Monday, August 31, 2015

Day One.

It's happened! Our little baby is a school girl! Everything went well this morning - we got up on time, had a nice breakfast and she got dressed in her new outfit from Mimi. I wore my workout clothes, because I am forever a slob. Tim came with us for the drop off - today is one of the few days that all of the kids start at the same time, so we had to park a bit off in the neighborhood and walk over, but no problem there. She was absolutely happy as a clam. We met a few friends before class (including the other Ellie) and then everyone lined up and headed in!

The first day was only an hour and a half, just to get the little friends ready for real school. It's a pretty diverse cast of tiny characters - some English learners, some kids who have never been in school before, but at pick up Mrs. G reported that there was no crying. And in case you were wondering, no crying on my end. I love that kid, but it's good for her to have her own thing, and for me to have a little time with my second little nutball. And then we got to go have coffee and hang out with the neighbors, so a good day thus far! Plus Gigi and Grizz are back from their sailing trip and hopefully ready to swim.

Super cheese face!

Okay mom, bye, please leave!

Both cute friends!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

A Little Flippawaffa Action.

Well, it's hotter than blazes here and I want to melt into a puddle. Thank goodness for air conditioning, and for having a single story home. Otherwise I think I would die. The other bonus is of course, Grizz and Gigi's very nice pool, which has remained warm fairly late this year. Good news, because Ellie's end of summer trick is mastering the flippawaffa. What is a flippawaffa you ask? Well, it's this:

And yes, I am chucking a toddler into the air away from me, despite the fact that he can't actually swim.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Hey School Girl in the Second Row!

ooh-baa-baa-lochey-baa, you're mine!

Well, here we are, the end of summer and actual back to school time. Who would have thought it? Because of October birthday, Ellie can't start regular kindergarten, but instead is registered for transitional kindergarten, offered through the public schools. Monday I had our parent information meeting and got to meet her teacher, and it was great! She's going to be going on the early schedule (upside, she'll be home for lunch. Downside, the days of sleeping in until 8:30 are OVER) five days a week. Her teacher is in her sixties and has been teaching TK since they first offered it four years ago. She's also a trained reading specialist and fairly forthright, which reminded me of Grandma Rosie. I think she'll be a really good fit as Ellie's teacher.

I have already joined the PTA (no volunteering, but the money I spent on joining goes back into the classroom, so why not) and I bought Ellie a school shirt for spirit day. She of course, began crying and saying she would NEVER wear it. Okay then! We'll see how you feel when everyone else is wearing their shirt on spirit Friday.

This morning Ellie had her introduction to Mrs. G and a brief evaluation. From what was said at the parent meeting, I knew Ellie would nail it. She was happy to go over her letter and numbers and talk all about her life. When asked who lives in her house, Ellie goes "well, I have two cats, Lulu and Thory." Yes, definitely mention the important family members first. She said her favorite food is spaghetti (not true) and her favorite game is Mario, because then she can play with her dad. It was really cute and funny to listen to her answers while I filled out paperwork. I was very proud of how friendly and outgoing Ellie was - as much as she's whined, I think the transition is going to be fairly smooth. She's smart, she's used to a school environment, and her classroom and teacher are great. Monday is the big day! And afterwards, the PTA is hosting a boohoo/woohoo drop off coffee, so perhaps I will go and be friendly to some other parents. Or just scowl, hard to tell.

I think Adam is going to be sad to miss his sister friend every day during the week, but Kristen and I are looking into activities for the boys, now that things are beginning to settle down. Poor second children, only allowed to tag along thus far, no actual fun activities of their own! I don't plan on starting Adam in preschool fall 2016, when he'll be three and potty trained. This year between Tuesdays with Mimi, MOPS on Fridays (I'm on the leadership team! Smiling, not scowling!) and Wednesday with Juddy, he'll be able to keep busy. And keep me busy too!

Friday, August 21, 2015


I apologize to Uncle Barry for the lack of blogging updates this month. The good news is that we're mostly back in our groove this week, just in time for life to totally change when Ellie starts transitional kindergarten on the 31st (TK is through the school district for kids who have birthday between September 1st and December 1st. Ellie will not be going to her home school this year, but will next year.) She'll be going mornings five days a week - I am even considering selling my double stroller, as I won't have to run with two giant children any more!

Anyhow. Adam has had probably the hardest time with the jet lag. Both kids have been waking up on the early side all week, and his naps have been hit or miss. Tuesday, he passed out in the stroller before lunch:

I call this Jet Lag, with Pine Cones. He was so tired that I dumped in his bed and he slept for two more hours, then gobbled a lunch and a half.

Because she's starting school soon, Ellie got to sleep over at Gigi and Grizz's house on Wednesday night, and in the morning she and Grizz made pumpkin pancakes with real maple syrup from Wild Bill Anderson! And then Adam and I came over for swimming time and lunch:
The pool has been just about the perfect temp this week, which means the season will end any minute, though I'm sure the kids will beg to go in when it's too cold for an adult to hang.

Speaking of temperature problems, today Ellie whined at me when I told her that she couldn't wear long sleeves to school. I sent her back to pick out an outfit and decided not to fight her when she came out dressed like this:
At least the tank top will let her armpits breathe when she starts sweating to death

The big fun of the week has been this:
They repaved our street and a couple more around us. Adam woke up on Thursday morning and raced outside to see the caravan of big trucks. Please note the neighbor boys also having a good hang out.

This weekend we have another wedding to attend, and Mimi and Poppy have so generously volunteered to keep the kids over night for us! I cannot wait - I'm bummed that I've missed dancing with Tim at recent weddings, and so I hope we can tear the place up! Nothing better than when Tim does some moon walking!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

What I Did On My Summer Vacation: Cousin Time!

Matchy matcher time with Hailee!

Belly up to the bar with their Grandpas

Snuggling with Kari at the head table

Thankfully not falling down the stairs

Matching Girls at the Ridges, before they got into their matching birthday suits at the lake

Great Lisa joins stripey bathing costume time

Also, matching sun protection time!

My little road dogs

What I Did On My Summer Vacation: HELMET EDITION!

Or no helmet edition, as the case may be. Being in the middle of nowhere, or our on the prairie, makes me feel like it's time to flout rules. Plus it makes for good texting to my lovable and cautious inlaws.

Ellie four wheeling on Hailee's four wheeler at Uncle John's

Many kittens four wheeling with John. And see! Adam is wearing a helmet!

If one cornhole board ramp is good, TWO is better! But heaven help you if you attempt to use Lisa's fossil rocks to sure up the supports.

Uncle John (the younger) helps load Ellie into his trusty wagon, which he took off many sweet jumps in the day.

It really was an amazing trip. David and Candice's wedding was really sweet and very beautiful. Adam had to go home early (with Tim) but Ellie tore up the dance floor with all of the other little girls. She was so happy to once again dance with her Grizz, and when she was melting down about not being allowed to be a bridesmaid (despite many discussions about the fact that David was Hailee's dad, not hers) she was also thrilled that Gigi introduced her to a kiddie cocktail (just don't tell her that it's got cherry juice in it. She HATES cherries, allegedly.) Both kids had a wonderful time staying with Grandma Rosie, and even showed Uncle Emery their favorite books, which he enjoyed (how can you not love Happy Birthday Cupcake, or a book about Mr Peanuts the Squirrel.)

We had a relatively uneventful trip across the state - I really could not have asked for better travelers. They napped, they played nicely, and when things got really dicey, I gave them each a tablet and let them play video games (no complaints - video games do pay the bills around here.) Our cabin in Door County was really nice - slightly more houselike than cabin, but perfect because it easily slept the four of us, Sara, and Brian and Becca. Nice sized bedrooms, a bunk room for the kids (with crib for Adam and a TOP BUNK for Ellie!) and a big sun room with a TV and VCR and old Disney movies. There was a nice screened porch and a hammock in the back, and the front yard had a little garden and a fire pit, and a nice bench on the porch where Becca and I sat and drank coffee in the morning, watching the hummingbirds at the feeder. We were less than a quarter mile from Europe Bay, so most days we just grabbed towels and walked down to the shore in the morning, and then after nap time, headed over to the Center of the Universe for big family dinner with all of the cousins and aunts and Grandpa Charlie and Juan and Renee. What more could you ask for?

We did a lot of drinking, cooking, eating, making fun of one another (and Juan) and working on puzzles. The kids were both thrilled to be with Olivia, and I love that she enjoys hanging out with them (and me. I like being the most popular Uncle Meg around.) At night once the kids (and Sara) were asleep, Brian and Becca and Tim I sat around and played Bananagrams until we lost brain focus, and then we'd delight in playing Sorry! and screwing one another over, all while laughing until we cried. One night when I went to wash my face I realized I'd laugh-cried off all of my eyeliner.

Yesterday we had a good drive back to Chicago, and the kids held together during the late flight home. It definitely benefits to travel with Grizz, not only because he's a nice guy (and his wife and younger daughter are pretty great) but because he has lots of fancy perks. Free checked bags, priority tags on the bags, admission into the Admirals Club with their kid room and free snacks and beers, and extended leg row seats. We didn't get on the plane until 8pm, and Adam did some wailing before falling asleep in my arms (and then waking up every half hour to cry and then resettle) and Ellie actually fell asleep, which shocked me to death. Tim luckily had a whole row to himself, and she curled up in my sweater and slept the last hour. And Mimi and Poppy had picked up our car from the airport the day we left and then parked it for us last night so we could make a mercifully quick exit. They even had the garbage can on wheels washed for me! (the kids will fill it with Cheerios again by the end of the day.)

It's hot as blazes here, so we are definitely missing the lake. And all of our family and friends. Until next year, Wisconsin!

What I Did On My Summer Vacation: Videos

(because the photos are uploading and I don't have the brain cells for coherent sentences.)

Uncle John set up a great slip and slide for all of us the day after the wedding

The first day we were in La Crosse, we went to Erickson pool on a cool, drizzly morning and had the whole enormous pool (water slides, diving board, splash pad) all to ourselves! Ellie was so thrilled.

In Wisconsin, it's all about jerry rigged fun and no safety features

And a lot of time with family

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Kiddo Conversation.

Ellie: Mommy. While I was at ballet, I saw you petting something lumpy. What was it?
Me: It was a dog.
Ellie: Umm.... do you know what kind of dog it was?
Me: It was a corgi. It has really short legs.
Ellie: Oh mommy, you know almost everything!
Me: Yup, that's right!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Trip Prep.

We leave in a few days for the wonderful wilds of Wisconsin, and of course, this week is absolutely insane. Thanks to St. Gigi, Tim and I were able to get away on Saturday night. Stayed in a hotel, slept in until 10, attempted to go see a concert but got too tired and old and went back for more bathrobe and sleep time, and then came home in time to get our stuff together to host the new neighbors for dinner. The husband just transferred to work at Tim's company, the wife quit her job to stay home, and their kids are roughly the same age as mine. And they were great fun, so big thumbs up!

Today we have to take the cats and check them in at the vet, which breaks my heart. They're closed on Wednesday, so today it is. Just sucks because Thor cries like he's being murdered, and I'm always terrified that the cats think they're being abandoned. The good news is that the new neighbor was a vet in her former life, and so I'm hoping if we become besties, she will come over and shoot up Wilford Brimley for me.

Last night we were out with all of the Fockers for Jake and my combined birthdays, having a really lovely dinner. Tomorrow night, off to Yorba Linda for a pool party, because it's the only night that we are in town while Steve is also in town. We know how to pack in the fun before a 5am wake up call and plane ride.

My only hope is that I can hold off on having the kids help me pack until the very last minute.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Other Photos from July.

The kids with their very best auntie

This is my new goal in life. To own a cat that walks on a leash, 
and then jumps into its stroller and snuggles up. 

A couple of play dates with our favorite princesses

At a birthday party at the trampoline park. He's ready to CELEBRATE!