Saturday, April 30, 2011

Bring Your Good Times

We celebrated Charlie's birthday with the family today. I made a root beer float cake (it was really good) ~
As usual, Mary has to be in charge of anything having to do with cake or candles~ Mary was pleased as punch that she got to hold baby Ava~We still need to take Charlie for his surprise dinner. But I think this concludes the "at-home" festivities :)

Friday, April 29, 2011

Born Friends

I just had to take a picture of this. Sam made the drawing Charlie is holding. It's a stained glass letter "C", and it says "I love you" on top. Just out of the blue. It's times like this that I know we're doing something right.
Sometimes being a brother is even better than being a superhero. ~Marc Brown

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Take Your Daughter to Work Day

Look who went to work with Daddy~
Mary was really looking forward to this. Not only was Sam not going this time (he's at the Greenhouse now), but Mary left bright and early and stayed at The Carlson Group with Daddy until lunchtime! Of course, she made some friends there (Mary has gotten into the habit of winking when we take her picture - it's pretty goofy) ~
She had a blast! She went off with all the big kids, and "worked" on getting her face painted, and coloring, and eating bagels ;) I say it every year, but TCG really is a company that values a work-life balance, and does a lot of nice things for employees and their families.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

It's the Real Thing

I love this kid. Have I said that lately? Today he brought some cupcakes (with pop bottles on top) to the Greenhouse for his birthday. He is so handsome. And thoughtful. Two years ago there was a little girl in his class who couldn't have sugar. Whenever we would make cupcakes, Charlie would always ask me to get something else for her (a little notepad or something). We are really proud of him :)

Monday, April 25, 2011

Rock On

We visited the Vulcan Quarry again, today. Mary loved learning about all the rocks, minerals and gems indigenous to Illinois. Fluorite is our state mineral - smile!
Sadly, I don't remember what each of the samples were~

Mary liked this one, a lot~
Again, it is just so cool to go down into a quarry!
The kids had a great time~
My littlest rockstar~
The Fist of Rock~
The kids always want to bring home lots of rocks, which Vulcan generously allows. They actually weigh us before and after to see how many pounds of rock we've collected. Sam found a fossil~

Since we were so close by, we stopped at the Lake Renwick rookery~

It was hard to know exactly what we were seeing, at first, the islands are covered with birds~
The boys had fun, too. I just wasn't able to get any pictures of them :)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

See what a morning, gloriously bright!

Alleluia! He is Risen! We love Easter 'round these parts. Not just because there are baskets filled with candy and toys, but because it is the culmination of a beautiful week of worship and observing the Passion of our Christ. We stay up very late for the Vigil, and are still eager to wake up early, and keep celebrating the Resurrection, Easter morning at our church~
Chocolate is to kids what a cup of joe is to the grown -ups, a burst of energy when one is exhausted~

On our way to church - Mary chose her dress and her hat~
Later we'll have dinner with Pam's family and another Easter Egg hunt!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Hunt for Red (and blue and yellow and green) Easter Eggs

Sam, Mary and I loaded up on chocolate and fun at Cornerstone Christian Church, again. The weather was perfect - not too cold, and not too hot. And dry :)
Sam sat with the Bunny, but although Mary said she wanted to, her feet wouldn't take her~
Of course she loved the little lambs~
And they both had a blast in the bounce house.
Tonight we observe the Great Vigil of Easter. Can. not. wait.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Eggs Galore

We had our annual Easter Egg decorating day with the Eders. Charlie had a lot of fun~
Mary really got into it this year, too~
Sam could have done another dozen~
But Janelle probably had the most fun. Look at the cute little chick she made~
Hello. I am bewildered.Later Mary was playing princess pirate (notice the telescope) and decided to decorate her face~
Cute, huh?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


My baby turned 12 today! I remember so clearly seeing his face right after he was born. He is so sensitive and kind, loving and protective of his brother and sister, responsible and honest and forthright, and finally too cool to smile for the camera. But he still expects his birthday pancakes~
We couldn't have asked for a better first child. He is so patient with our parenting mistakes, and is such an awesome kid - we get more credit than we deserve. Charlie is a blessing to our family and to the world. It is a joy getting to know the young man he is becoming.
In honor of Charlie's birthday, here is one of my favorite retro Sesame Street songs.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Minuet No. 1

My kids continue to amaze me~

Wednesday, April 13, 2011



I had a groupon for the Dupage Children's Museum that was expiring. After my little get-away, it was the perfect place to take the kids and thank them for being so accommodating while I was gone. Something for the 8 and up crowd to do - find places to build numbers~

Mary with her self, and mama, portrait paper dolls~
Mary chose all the accoutrements, and glued them on - I added the faces and hands, and helped with the hair~
I think my three year old would win an award for longest attention span - she helped her brothers create this number 2~
Mary "hammering out love between her brothers" ~
The DCM is fun, especially when it's not too crowded, which usually happens from noon - 2:30 on weekdays :)

Lake Tahoe

About a month ago, my good friend from high school, Jennifer, called me with a proposition. I'd help her drive from San Fransisco to Lake Tahoe (and check out some lodging options for a party she's planning there in the fall) and she would fly me there and back. I had to think about it - I had never left Mary overnight and I would also need someone to watch the kids while Scott was at work during the day. Scott and my mom both encouraged me to go ahead. It really was the perfect trip, for the perfect amount of time - I would leave early Sunday morning, and return Tuesday night. So I was up at the crack of dawn on Sunday, and took an early morning flight to SFO~
Best views from an airplane~
Jen(ifer) met me at the airport (along with her friend Eduardo), and after dropping him at his house outside of the city, we were on our way.
LinkWe stopped in Napa and had lunch at the Boon Fly Cafe, with more of Jen's friends. The food was fabulous and it was great fun to visit with Marcelle, Laine, Paige and Owen. It's obvious why people love Northern California - it really is a beautiful drive~We rolled into the Hyatt at Incline Village quite late, but were happily surprised when the young woman at the front desk upgraded us to the Regency Club! After settling in to our fabulous room, we got a bite to eat in downstairs. Jen and I stayed up talking 'til the wee hours, only to rise and shine bright and early the next day ~
Before heading out to check some properties, we had a delicious breakfast at the Log Cabin Cafe.
We checked out the beautiful lakefront, and saw some of the world's largest pine-cones. I'm afraid they were more awe-inspiring in person, but this one truly was bigger than Jen's head~
Jen has been telling me for a long time how spectacularly lovely Tahoe is. She's right~What could be better than a beach made of half sand and half snow? I hope the kids get to see this one day soon~
A very cool, albeit dead, little crab~
It's not a matter of just not littering, we really need to stop using so much stuff~View from the Hyatt~
On Tuesday, I ended up missing my flight (yes, I cried - I missed my family) and had a three hour layover at LAX. Outdoor tarmacs always make me feel like I'm in a 1950's movie~This was a GREAT trip! We gambled a bit (and met all the usual characters), ate some great food (including the best Mexican I've ever had, at Lupitas) and enjoyed some of the country's most beautiful scenery. All while laughing - there's something to be said for the easy comfort of an old friend. The kids were fine - Mary didn't even really cry for me (she asked a couple of times, but was content with the reply that I would be home soon). Thanks, Jen!