Friday, December 30, 2011

Happy 2nd Birthday Jillian!

In some ways it is hard to believe that Jillian is 2 years old, and in others it seems like she is going on 12! This morning Jillian woke up, and like Mommy went to make some coffee in her coffee pot (drips water), sat in her chair to receive her birthday phone calls and well wishes talking away, and then headed out to breakfast with Grandma, Auntie, Uncle Chris, Andrew, Emma, Joey, Mommy, and Daddy. After much attention and filling her tummy at breakfast we came back to the house to open some gifts before going to the Teenie Weenie New Year's Eve Ball! Much different than last year where Jill fell asleep on my shoulder with the dj's music blaring and not making it until midnight--12 noon-- today she was partying like a rock star! She is in full diva mode constantly amazing us, making us laugh, and making us shake our heads a bit too! Happy 2nd Birthday Jillian Grace!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Week in Pictures

Before Christmas my Andrew and Emma's grandparents from NY were in so we were able to get together a few times with them to catch up. The first thing I had suggested for them to do was of course go to the Arboretum!

Christmas Eve service was at Joey's school church. The kids enjoyed singing songs, seeing our neighbor in the choir, sitting up front with the pastor talking about the toys he got as a kid and the magic of Christmas, followed by a cake for Jesus being ushered down the center aisle! We sang Happy Birthday to Jesus, had some cake and visited with our friends and then it was back home for a light lunch and naps. Christmas Eve was at our house with the Kurby side of the family: Nonna, Grandpa, Auntie Steph, Uncle Don, Mikey, and joining us a little later was Uncle Kevin, Aunt Nicole, baby Amelia, and Miranda. As the pictures show we all had a great time and the kids had a blast and loved each and every thing they got!

Christmas eve after everyone was gone and Joey finally made it to bed, Grandma and Jessie came to sleep over so they could be here in the morning. Grandma, Joey, and Jessie tried to get up at 4am Christmas morning, so Mommy had to go into their room and tell them it was a little too early! Santa did come and brought way too much. Even Java and Jessie had plenty of treats in the morning--Frosty Paws!

After playing with our toys and taking a short nap we headed to Assumption to say Merry Christmas to Josh who is so lucky to spend Christmas with the birthday boy-Jesus! (Although it is also Grandpa's birthday on Christmas day too--Happy Birthday!) Afterwards we drove to Grandma's for some more fun with Andrew, Emma, Auntie, Uncle Chris, Grandma, GG Joe, GG Rose, Mike, and Kathy. The food was of course delicious and Grandma got to use her new kitchen and dining area for her first real big meal! After dinner it was another obscene gift exchange and I think every kid got more than they even thought they wanted!

Monday was spent winding down, playing with all the things we got, visiting with Mike and Kathy, and wishing them a safe travel back home. Today (Wednesday) we had some free time and Daddy is still on vacation so we braved the cold and went to the Brookfield Zoo! The kids loved it, it was chilly but it didn't seem to bother anyone as we went from animal house to animal house.

We hope you all had a Merry Christmas! We are now getting ready for Jillian's 2nd birthday on Friday! Time sure flies!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

More holiday fun...

Last Friday we had the opportunity to see our neighbor Nicolas perform in Scrooge with a company in St. Charles. We had a great dinner, play, and dessert afterwards with the performer! Thank Beth and Dom for going out on a date with had been a long time!

Last Saturday Jill had her dance class and Joey and Daddy came to watch as well. Joey and Daddy came in the room to take some pictures since you couldn't get a good shot from the tinted glass outside. Joey was a little bit of a distraction so they didn't stay in the room long, but Jill was in her glory showing all her dance moves and following her teacher through her exercises.

After dance class we headed to Nonna and Grandpa's so the kids could help them decorate their tree and bake some cookies. Joey and Jillian really seemed to get into it, and we heard they loved baking with Nonna too!

On Sunday we celebrated an early Christmas with Uncle Wayne, Auntie Carol, Jenn and Chuck, and Mike and Nikki. Auntie, Andrew, Emma, and Grandma were there as well and everyone was excited to open gifts and catch up. Thanks for a yummy brunch Auntie Carol! After heading home, Emma came back over for some fun play time while Andrew went to the Blackhawks game with his parents and Grandma. Emma had lots of fun decorating cookies, marching in our parades, and having a picnic with Jill.

Monday we went to Cosley Zoo with Nonna and Grandpa since we had the day off and usually that is their day to watch the kids. After looking at the few animals that were braving the cold and watching the zoo keepers count the tagged ducks we headed over to the Arboretum. Nonna and Grandpa hadn't been here with us before so Joey was happy to show them the ropes! And of course the trains too since they will only be there a few more weeks.

Finally, on Tuesday was Joey's Christmas program at school. Joey did a fantastic job ringing his bells, singing, reciting poems, and entertaining us all! A far cry from Halloween when he cried through the parade, this time Joey was very excited and jumping around when he shouted "hey!" in Jingle Bells. After the performance he brought us a secret present he had been working on at school...a snowflake ornament that he painted, glued glitter, and placed his picture in, a perfect keepsake ornament! After some cookies and punch we headed back home and Joey is officially on break!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Holiday Catch Up

So it has been a long time since I last posted and a bit of stuff to catch up on. I am going to go a little out of order because I need to address something first and foremost:

The most wonderful Christmas gift we received was from Uncle Mark, Auntie, Miya, Nathan, and Jacob. We were delighted to have them over and be able to do a Christmas exchange, and were completely blown away by their thoughtfulness and generosity. IF you remember last year they gave us the awesome banners for the Joshua Charge for CHARGE run that we will use year after year. A very thoughtful gift and couldn't be topped. Well, I was overwhelmed with emotion once again to receive not only a beautiful family ornament with each person in our family represented, but also a memorial brick to be dedicated to Joshua. As you know, if not from my millions of pictures and posts of us spending time at the Arboretum whenever we can, or from me constantly talking about how great it is there, I love the Arboretum. I have gone there with friends, family, alone to run or mill around, with just my kids to spend some adventure time and picnic, or to just reflect. I feel very close to Joshua at the Arboretum, whether its because is a serene place or just a place where I find myself connecting a bit more while I run or play around, it has become a place I go when I want to do something fun and for me. I am lucky that Joey and Jillian have the playful energy and love the outdoors as well! I know they will have fun going to the Arboretum and looking for the brick with Joshua's name on it. We plan on being there when the brick is put in this spring, and will have Uncle Mark, Auntie Miya, Nathan, and Jacob there as well! It truly is a most thoughtful and generous gift that I cannot put my gratitude into words. I am thankful not only to have such a lovely gift, but the great friendship and support that Miya and Mark constantly provide. Thank you!

Unfortunately I do not take enough pictures when they are around because we are usually too busy talking and having fun, but I got a few of Joey and Nathan together. Nathan loves Java and I think Java likes the attention she gets when he's around!

Last Sunday (12/11) we had a busy morning. After church we headed over to Assumption to bring a Christmas tree. It was a bit cold so we weren't there long, and luckily across the street at Cantigny a friend of mine gave me an article about a train show! So we went in to see the Lego railways. It was very detailed and elaborate. After a bit of time there it was off to the Arboretum! (You know I can barely go a week without being there!) The Arboretum has an Enchanted Railroad with trains galore! When I had gone the week before I spoke with a lady that worked there and she said it was possible to spend hours there watching the different trains go by, so to bring a book if I brought my kids. She was right, Joey and Jillian absolutely loved it. Before going in, we noted where the brick in Josh's memory will be placed, it is a great area right when you walk in! We spent almost 45 minutes there before we made them stop for lunch. Of course they had us back in after lunch all the way up until nap time!

Last Friday (12/9) we woke up to finally a little bit of snow! Of course it is all gone now, but our fingers are crossed for a white Christmas anyways! Joey could not wait to put on his boots, hat and gloves and play in the snow, no matter how shallow and bare it was! Jill was initially hesitant, but then learned how much fun it is once you leave your gloves on! They found the little patch of ice from the grill container lid that had blown off so they were taking turns ice skating on a 10x12 piece of ice!

Saturday (12/3)we went to Joey's school for a yummy pancake breakfast and who did we meet...Santa! Joey enjoyed seeing his teachers outside of the classroom and loved telling Santa all the things he wanted for Christmas! Jill even sat on his lap and said a few things that she wanted too! (I think the pics are on Phil's phone so I will add those later). After coming home from breakfast with Santa we were ready to continue the festivities having Auntie Pam, Auntie Tiff, and Auntie Trish over for lunch, and to meet Auntie Trish's new puppy Chevy! Chevy and Java got along really well, and Joey and Jillian (as well as the rest of us) fell in love with Chevy, she is so cute!

Auntie Pam brought the kids a gingerbread house to put together and decorate! Of course Joey wanted to do it right away, but we waited until that evening and we assembled and decorated away!

On Sunday (12/4) Daddy and Joey along with Andrew and Grandma went to ride the Polar Express! They took a train ride, sang songs, visited with Santa, had some yummy snacks, and got an ornament too! We did this last year, and the boy seemed to have just as much fun this year too.

When I was younger, and even now, I would lay underneath the Christmas tree at night with my blanket and stare at the lights. I love the magic of Christmas and all the joy it brings. So each year I have made it a point to do it with my kids as well, and they enjoy pointing out the different colors, talking, and cozying up under the tree.

Finally some other random pics of the last couple weeks...