Saturday, October 29, 2011

Sonny Acres
Last Friday we went to Sonny Acres to pick out our pumpkins, play around in the pumpkin patch, and of course a few rides! After dinner we headed back to Uncle Chris and Auntie Christy's house to carve our pumpkins. After the initial pulling the top off the pumpkin with Joey, Daddy pretty much did the rest all by himself. He made a great Tinkerbell for Jill and Lightning McQueen for Joey. Good job Daddy!

Saturday Lunch!

Saturday we went out to lunch at Pilot Pete's a restaurant by Schaumburg airport. Jillian loves airplanes and points them out to everyone all the time so she and Joey had a lot of fun looking at all the planes taking off, landing, and even one guy washing his plane!

On Tuesday Joey had his turn to take care of Cuddly the bear. Each kid in school gets to take Cuddly from Tues. to Thurs. and have him at home for some adventures. Then you have to write what adventures you and Cuddly went on and draw a picture. Joey was so excited to bring Cuddly home. He napped with him, had him at the table for meals, took him for a bike ride, went to the park, you name it whatever Joey did in those 2 days Cuddly was there! He was not happy about having to bring him back, but knew it was Kayden's turn next (one of his buddies) so he brought him back on Thursday.

Joey's school Halloween parade

Thursday Joey also had his Halloween parade and party at school. At 10:15 Daddy went in the classroom to dress him while Jill and I waited in the sanctuary. Shortly after Daddy's return and telling us how Joey did not want Daddy to leave, the parade started which was Joey staring at us the whole time half crying, not singing the song they learned, but trying to bee line back to us. After the parade and song was over we helped him decorate a treat bag, filled it up with all the treats from his cubby, had a bite of the Halloween goodies all the parents brought, and then went out to lunch. While we were at lunch Joey told us how much fun he had at the parade at school, and proceeded to sing the Jack-O-Lantern song he learned and was supposed to be singing earlier!

Meeting Jacob!
Thursday was also the day that Jacob Matthew was born! Nathan is now a big brother and his mommy and daddy looked so happy and ready to take on another boy when we went to visit them on Friday. It was so wonderful to hold Jacob, so light, gorgeous, and comfy! We were so excited to meet him and so happy to see that mom and dad were doing well too. Congrats Auntie Miya, Uncle Mark, and big brother Nathan! And welcome to our world Jacob!
I will get some pictures here soon (with parent consent), they are on Phil's phone!

And finally some miscellaneous pictures from the past week.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A full week we've been having...

We have some fun things planned for our weekend but didn't want to lose things from this busy week in the shuffle of pictures and fun times!

Monday we decided was the day to upgrade Joey once again to Big Boy status with his bed and then give Jillian some freedom and Big Girl status of her own! When we ordered the cribs that convert into toddler beds and then headboard/footboard when Josh and Joey were not even here yet we made a mistake and only ordered one set of bed rails. Now that Jillian is potty trained and ready to get up if she needs during naps or at night time she needed to be allowed out of the crib and into her toddler bed. So we made the switch...Joey's bed (and eventually Jill's) turns into not a twin but a full sized bed! We now have a less than 30 pound kid being swallowed by a gigantic, comfy bed! And Jillian is ecstatic to not have to reach between slats to grab her books she can actually get out of bed and grab them if need be. So far they are both doing excellent in their big beds and absolutely love them!

Tuesday night after I was done with a class I had signed the family up (free!) to go to the library and hear a talk about bats, and even get to see some up close! Jillian was not so sure about them, but pointed out the other animals on the slides when the lady was talking, and Joey was very interested and was so excited when he was able to wear the "bat bib" and let a bat hang on him! Jillian was unsure but went along with it anyways.

Wednesday night the anticipation was finally over...we got to meet baby Amelia! Uncle Kevin and Nicole had Amelia August 10, but last night was our first chance to meet her. We have been trying for a while, and Uncle Kevin has a very busy work schedule but we were so happy to have dinner with them and meet Amelia. Joey was in prime show off mode for Uncle Kevin, and I relaxed much of the night with the comfort of this cute baby girl in my arms...I did finally share with Phil too. It was great seeing you Uncle Kevin, and we are so happy to meet you Amelia!

Finally for this week, Jillian had her last dance class for this session today. We are hoping it continues next session but need some others to sign up. Jillian loves her dance class. She dances with the hula hoop, maracas, tambourine, baby dolls, parachute (has come a long way with that one!), bubbles, and mommy and the teacher. Jillian loves music and dancing, and I think will be seeing a lot of Ms. Rachael in the next few years.

Phew, is it Friday yet?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Joshua's Journeys #62 Corduroy the Bear

Speaking of our NICU nurses and all the wonderful things they do, we would call Josh's nurses NICU aunties because they took such great care of Josh (and Joey when he was there, but the long term stay of Josh drew a deeper affection). Josh's NICU Auntie Stephanie knew that we read Corduroy the Bear to Josh quite a bit and I had mentioned I was looking for some green cords for Josh to sport on Halloween. He was always very hot so we weren't really concerned about a shirt for him. Well, NICU Auntie Stephanie took it upon herself to surprise us with a homemade costume custom fit for Josh! She made ears for him to wear as well and he looked adorable, better than anything I could even try to come up with. All I had to do was pop Josh's book in his hands, sit him in his stroller, and bring in some candy to put in his bag for staff to eat! We even took a few strolls around the NICU that day to bring candy to other parents and staff that might not have passed his room.

Saturday night after baths I was cleaning out some things in Joey's closet and knowing we were going to the NICU reunion the next day couldn't help but grab Josh's pumpkin hat to see how small it was. Joey was interested so I showed him the Corduroy costume that Stephanie had made so when Joey saw Stephanie at the NICU party he knew she was the one that made his brothers costume. It was a really sweet moment to show Joey that this lady that he might not remember knew him and his brother and made that special costume for Josh. A side note about Joey here... we had passed CDH the other day and told Joey and Jillian that the hospital was where all 3 of them were born. Joey responded with "Josh and I were boring there?" And in attempts to correct him he now insists that he was "boring when he was in mommy's tummy," even though we said he (and even moreso) Josh was anything but boring when I was pregnant!

Weekend Update...

The weekend started for us Friday morning. I have nothing going on Fridays (for a little while) so I asked Joey what he wanted to do. Either I have trained him well or he loves it as much as I do, but he responded with "Go to the Arboretum!" I was hoping he would say that because I knew we had a fairly full weekend ahead of us but wanted to make it over there to see the glass pumpkin patch that was on display and for purchase this Fri-Sun. So here are just a few pics of the kids at the Arboretum, but a few seeing some different things. They had the glass blowing classes outside with benches for all to watch and demonstrations going all day. So after playing in the children's garden and going to story time, we went to see the glass pumpkins and glass blowing demonstrations. The pumpkins were quite neat, but quite pricey as well so we did not leave that patch with a pumpkin, but got some popcorn- a Kurby kid favorite! It was also a very, very windy day so after searching for some pinecones we decided it was time to head home.

Saturday the we headed over to the fire station for an open house! They had balloons, Sparky the dog, many fire trucks to climb on and look at, firefighter outfits to try on, an obstacle course to race in, a big bouncy to climb and slide, and a trailer for a demo of how to get out of your bedroom if there is a fire in your house. They actually had a firefighter teach the kids in a room that looked kinda like a kids bedroom, got some fake smoke in there, smoke detector went off, and they were assisted out a window. I thought it was a pretty cool demonstration, and the kids got fireman hats too! Not to mention once again popcorn and juice in CSFD cups to take home!

Saturday night we did the super cool thing and went grocery shopping at Target! This week is the last week of the session for dane, but I signed her up for the next one since she loves it so much. She has been the only one in class not in full ballerina attire and I have been too cheap to get her a leotard. Well, for Halloween she is going to be Tinkerbell (a great buy from a resale!) and needed a long sleeved something to go underneath. So we decided it was time she got a little getup. Jillian's eyes lit up when I took her to the dance area, and she was showing off her dance skills the next morning when she tried it on.

Sunday was the annual NICU reunion party! It was our 3rd year going and it keeps getting bigger and bigger. It used to be held in the cafeteria of the hospital, but with over 500 kids in attendance they moved it over to Danada House. It was so much fun. We always love catching up with our favorite NICU nurses. We stay in touch with Josh's primary nurses and a few others that volunteer at the CHARGE 5K, and some we just get together now and again with, but this reunion allows us to see everyone we might not otherwise get to see and catch up with some great families and friends we have made along the way. Plus, there is nothing more adorable than seeing a bunch of little kids all dressed up busting a move to the band, chasing bubbles, playing games, taking pictures, decorating cookies, bouncing around, this year going on hayrides, and decorating pumpkins! Our friends from the family advisory council had their daughters there as well and while waiting for our cars the kids enjoyed making wishes with pennies in the fountain. So cute! I wish I had more pictures but there is always so much to do, so many people to see and so little time! It is always a great time and this year at the new location completely top notch!

Monday, October 10, 2011

A Perfect Autumn Weekend!

We had a great weekend and enjoyed every bit of this wonderful fall weather. On Friday the kids painted some pictures for GG Joe's 89 birthday on Sunday. After naps we headed out to Scarecrow fest where there was a craft show, bouncies for the kids, carnival rides, face painting, and much more. We didn't get out there until 5 and the craft show was already closing up, but the kids loved all that we did do including just walking by the riverwalk. A fun start to our weekend!

On Saturday we started off with breakfast at Nonna and Grandpa's where Grandpa made some delicious blueberry pancakes! After fueling up it was off to Goebert's for some more fall fun! If you remember last year it was pouring rain the weekend we had scheduled to go, so this year was much better not being wet or cold and seeing all that Goebert's has to offer! They enjoyed posing in front of the character cut outs, reading in the giant rocking chair with Nonna, feeding the giraffe and other animals (but the giraffe was hands down the coolest), riding ponies, watching the pig races, and riding a camel too! Thanks for a fun morning!

Saturday night we went to Grandma's house to celebrate GG Joe's 89th birthday! Well, turns out at 3:00 Grandma got a call from GG Rose saying that GG Joe was in the hospital! If you know GG Joe, he is the fittest 89 year old man you'll ever meet and can handle pain like no other. So for him to have said he was in pain enough to go, you know its something. Turns out he had his gallbladder taken out Sunday morning, on his birthday! He was not able to eat anything Grandma had made him--of course all his favorite things since it was his birthday--and Grandma brought our gifts and pictures to GG Joe after dinner. Fast forward, GG Joe did great through surgery and is expected to go home tomorrow! (Hoping to eat apple pie soon I'm sure!)

Sunday morning I woke up at 3:30 to head down to the city and check in to Volunteer Headquarters at 4:30am for the Chicago Marathon. Since I ran in Sept. I decided not to do another marathon so close, but of course could not stay away from all the excitement the marathon hold, especially since Ryan Hall would be in the vicinity (my current favorite male marathoner who placed 5th, but is not just a tremendous athlete but a great guy giving back too). This was my third time volunteering: the first year I did runner information, second time start corrals, and this year charity village directing people running for charities to their charity tent as well as many to the start line. The excitement and anticipation on people's faces after months of preparation is priceless and made me wish I had signed up even if it were just a "fun" run.

After heading home at 8am it was a quick pit stop before heading back out with our family as well as Auntie, Andrew, and Emma to go apple picking. Unfortunately Grandma couldn't make it since GG Joe was having his surgery that morning but we were sure to pick plenty of apples for her so she could make her famous, delicious apple pies! Even though we got there 15 minutes after they opened there was already a long line to go on the wagon ride and head out to the orchards. So waiting in line the kids entertained themselves dancing with each other and goofing around. Once we got out there the kids had a lot of fun being lifted by Daddy/Uncle Phil, eating as many apples as they could manage, and carrying their full 1/4 peck bags of apples around. Of course we had to indulge in some apple donuts and cider before heading home. We later caught up with Grandma for updates on GG Joe, which of course we were happy to hear he is doing very well. Happy 89th Birthday GG Joe!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Fall is here!

I love the fall...the changing leaves, the cooler nights where I can cuddle up in a blanket, drinking hot chai tea or cider, and marathon season! While I am happy that I had my marathon a couple weeks ago I am still very excited to see the Chicago and New York marathons. I think it is such an exciting and great time. I guess most correlate the fall with football, which I do like to watch after a long run, but I think of the fall moreso for marathon season! Anyways, back to other fun fall festivities...I am of course always up to going to the Arboretum to see the leaves changing and all the autumn events they have going on there, but Daddy did not feel like going out there the other night but still wanted to get out of the house. So I brought out a few booklets that had fests and activities, we toyed with Cosley Zoo but we wouldn't have much time since it was after naps, we'd also have to have dinner soon, etc. So we drove a very short distance to Sonny Acres...we didn't get our pumpkins, we are doing that later in the month with Auntie, Uncle, Andrew, Emma, and Grandma, but we did go check out the petting zoo, looked at the pumpkins, and the few rides that they had out for the kids. Joey and Jillian went on a pony ride which Joey loved! Jillian was a little hesitant and had a kung fu grip on my jacket the whole time but stayed on unlike last year where she screamed when we tried to put her on a pony. They both loved going into the petting zoo area where we were able to not just feed the animals but mingle amongst them! I don't think I've ever been to a petting zoo like this, I was a bit surprised, but the kids loved it! We are very lucky to have this place so close to our house, and I'm sure we'll be back a few times before the season is over!
Whenever we move Joey's room around or spend time playing in his room he almost always brings up the time last year when I put all the stuffed animals he had gotten around him in an a la E.T. way. He loves when I pack the stuffed animals around him and takes it very seriously trying to hold still. He was a little agitated at Jillian because she was laughing and goofing around so much, but we managed to do it with both of them together. We had just switched the hutch from Joey's dresser on to Jillian's since we are not using the top of hers as a changing table anymore, so now it looks like a big girl room. There are also some pictures of the kids going on a leaf hunt in the back yard. They love the pumpkins that we brought out for Halloween and were itching to put something in them so we went leaf hunting.

Happy Birthday Nathan!

Last Saturday Nathan turned 2! We were lucky enough to celebrate with him on his actual birthday. We started off at a coffee shop with an indoor playground. It was a very fun place to climb and play and allowed Mommy, Daddy, Auntie Miya, and Uncle Mark to have some coffee and relax, at least for a little bit. Then we headed back to their house to play on their new swingset, bouncy that was super fun, and of course Jillian got Auntie Miya to bring out some bubbles! After a yummy lunch and cake it was definitely time for naps. Thanks for having us over, it was fun to play with you Nathan. And happy 2nd birthday!