Monday, November 19, 2012

Family Day in Chicago

We love living so close to a big city. Actually, two big cities, but we tend to favor Chicago. On Saturday we surprised the kids with a trip down to Chicago. We took the train out of Waukegan. It was the first train ride to Chicago for all three of our kids. They seemed to enjoy it on the way there, but on the way back we were all exhausted and just ready to be at home.

Chicago was a lot of fun.  The weather was perfect.  The city was packed!  But everyone was in great holiday spirits.  Ethan wasn't so sure of the big crowds at first.  He became pretty upset and made it very well known that he wanted to go home.  Thankfully, some delicious food from Rock Bottom Brewery seemed to calm him down and prepare him to head back out on to the congested streets. 

We did some touring around, took lots of pictures, and watched the parade.  Radio Disney was at the parade so we heard some live performances and got to see a couple Disney celebrities.  The kids thought that was pretty cool! 

After the parade there was an amazing display of fireworks. They were LOUD. The noise bounced from building to building. Ethan and Carter watched with pure amazement.  Ethan didn't even care that his hat was falling off of his head...

On the way back to the train station, Mariah and I ran in to one of the many Starbucks and grabbed some warm drinks and a couple snacks for Cory and the boys. I love Starbucks.... What a great way to end a perfect family day.

Ethan slept on the train ride home.  We were hoping that Carter would do the same, but he decided to sing loudly in a horrible crying type of way... I bounced him, rocked him, and did everything I could to keep him quiet so the other passengers wouldn't get upset.  I even resorted to feeding him cookies at 10:30 at night... I was going for anything that would work. 

We got home a little before midnight and put the kids to bed.  We thought for sure they would sleep in, but by 7am the next morning they were all wide awake.  So much for catching up on sleep, but it was worth it! 

I love family adventures! 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Sneak Peak: Stone!

We committed!  We picked out a stone and we love it!  It's fireplace completion time!  7 years in the making... happy dance!  :-)  woot woot! 

It's a natural limestone.  Isn't it pretty?! 

Here is what we have been looking at since we built our home 7 years ago. 

Step 1: remove the existing drywall.  This was the fun part.  I love construction demo! 

Step 2: Barricade the kids creating a safe playing area away from flying drywall.  :-)  The kids thought this was fun at first... then quickly learned how to escape. 

Escaping the kid barricade led to little helping hands.  Ethan thought that using the shop vac was the best job ever. 

Isn't he a handsome little helper :-)

Since we had the wall opened up I talked Cory in to Step 3: installing eyeball lights! 

They work!  I love them!

Step 4: Get rid of old hearth, install the solid hardwood mahogany mantel, and hang up cement board. 

These are just phone pictures.  I'll have better pictures and more details in our final post. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

I Just Don't Understand

I am feeling disturbed today.  There are so many evil things that happen in this world.  It is scary turning on the news and watching the horrible and tragic stories come across the tv while we are going about our day.  There was a tragic incident this weekend that hit close to home for me.  There was a shooting in a salon in Brookfield.  A man took the life of his wife, two of her coworkers, and then took his own life.  One of those coworkers was a friend of mine from high school.  We weren't super close friends, but our lives crossed paths many times.  We had occasional get togethers and sleep overs at each other's houses during our sophomore and junior years.  We always had a lot in common.  We ran in to each other later on in life and realized we both had daughters within a year of one another and both named our girls Mariah.  She was a super kind and sweet person.  Always soft spoken and smiling. 

How could someone take her life for no reason?  I just don't understand it. 

I just want to sit and home and hug my family today. 

My thoughts and prayers go out to Cary Robuck's family and friends.  Also to the other victims family and friends.  Truly tragic.  Heartbreaking. 


Remembering Cary

Spa Shooting

Monday, October 8, 2012

Oh, lighten up!

This weekend I learned about light bulbs. 

I went to Menards in search for more light.  I didn't want to buy new light fixtures, I just wanted brighter bulbs, but everything in my home seems to allow up to 60 watt bulbs.  I talked to the light specialist (well that's what I'm calling her) in the store and she explained the light bulb...

Soft White = a yellow base creating a warm feel
Bright White = a yellow and blue base giving a nice mixture
Daylight = a blue base giving a very bright feel

As I went home and looked around my house, I realized I was buying soft white for all of my bulbs.  I never realized I was doing this.  I just bought the light bulbs in the past paying no attention to the exact color. 

I went back to Menards and bought 15 fluorescent energy saving light bulbs, 60 watt, in a bright white.  Well... let me show you the difference.  I love it.  Cory thinks he needs sunglasses in the kitchen, but I love the brighter lights! 

Hallway before:

Hallway after: 

It's a much truer-to-color light.  Plus, it saves us money on our electric bill because we went with energy efficient fluorescent bulbs! 

What color light bulbs do you use?  Do you have a room that always feels really dark?  Maybe try switching out the bulbs!  

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

And... it's October

Mariah has a job!  Her very first official job!  She is working at a local Farmer's Market and Gift Shop.  She was hired on as seasonal help, but is really enjoying it and hopes to get hired on year-round!  I have some great pictures of her first day, but haven't taken them off of my camera yet...

Carter moved up to the toddler room at daycare.  He is still adjusting.  We miss the infant room teachers a lot.  :-( 

Ethan is adjusting to the new school/daycare/preschool year.  His friends that were older than him have all gone off to kindergarten and now he is one of the oldest in his class.  He is adjusting and making new friends.

Daycare's play area is all sand.  ALL SAND. Which means every day when I pick up the boys they are covered in sand.  It's in their shoes, coated on their socks, in their hair, on their skin, in Carter's diaper.  Seriously it is everywhere and it makes me CRAZY!  The daycare is having a fundraiser for more playground equipment and sand... how do I tell them that I am not helping them with their fundraiser... because the sand is HORRIBLE! 

My brother and his wife are due to have their baby boy any day now!  So excited for them.  Baby Oliver Christian is going to be a very loved little man.  I can't wait to snuggle him! 

Well, that's all for now.  Not much for my first post in over three weeks.  Sorry about the lack of pictures... Just how I role lately. 

Happy October!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

28 Hours

I have made it 28 hours without nursing Carter.  I have been ready to quit for a while, but Carter has not been ready.  He is so attached to me.  I love his snuggles and that he always wants to be right next to me, but I also know that the longer I nurse him, the more attached he will get and the harder it will be to quit.  My goal was to nurse him until he was 12 months.  I made it to that goal back in June.  I've been going back and forth about weaning him ever since.  Well, it's finally time.  I'm ready.  He'll adjust.  Actually, so far he is doing okay.  He had a 30 minute melt down before dinner last night.  He followed me around the house and clung to my leg while screaming.  He threw himself on the floor a couple times while yelling mamamamama... It was heartbreaking, but we made it through it.  I offered him a sippy cup with strawberry milk, a bottle with ice cubes and water, and finally he chose the milk in the straw cup that Ethan was drinking.  Whatever makes our little man happy, except for nursing.  These next couple days are going to be rough, but we can do it. 

Last night I gave him a bottle before bed.  He drank about 2-3 ounces after fussing for a while.  I know that giving him a bottle is a bit backwards since he's been using a sippy cup for about 5 months, but I wanted to give him something that resembled nursing to try to make the transition smoother.  It worked for bed time.  Then he woke up at 1:40am.  I sat in his room and tried to keep him happy and offered him a bottle until 2:00am.  Then Cory came in and I left the room.  Cory gave Carter a sippy cup instead of the bottle.  After a couple minutes of refusing the cup, Carter finally gave in.  He drank a little bit, handed Cory the cup, then laid back down and went to sleep.  He fussed a little around 2:45am, but quickly put himself back to sleep.  We had to wake him up at 6:00am this morning.  The night went a lot better than I was anticipating! 

This is such a hard decision to make.  I knelt next to his crib when I put him to bed last night.  I watched him drink from his bottle and I cried.  I cried because my little baby is growing up.  He won't need me the way he has for the past 14 1/2 months.  I know I can't keep him small forever, but he is my baby. 

We can do this... hour by hour. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

So Excited!

Remember this post about the Norwex party that I had?  Well, now I am joining in on the fun and becoming a consultant!  Yup, that is how much I love this stuff!  I am so excited to tell everyone about the fabulous products!! 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Da Bears = Date Night!

Cory and I had a little last minute date night on a Thursday night!  We scored some tickets to our first ever BEARS game at Soldier Field.  I love Chicago and get excited about heading down there any chance I get.  Cory knew the traffic would be bad so we left around 4:30pm since the game started at 7:30pm.  We wanted plenty of time to drive there, explore, and find our seats.  It should have only taken us an hour to get there, but traffic was SO bad that it ended up taking THREE hours!  The nice thing about that horrible three hour drive was that Cory and I had lots of alone time to talk and just take in the scenes around us.  It's not very often that we get a chance to do that. 

It was raining during our drive down to Chicago, but luckily it stopped right before the game started.  I had never experienced thunder in a big city before.  It was so incredibly loud! The noise amplifed off all the tall buildings.  The thunder completely shook the city and startled Cory and I when we heard it for the first time.   

The game was packed!  It was awesome experiencing a football game in real life and not just on TV. 

The BEARS didn't do very well.  It was a preseason game so all the good players were watching from the sidelines.  We stayed until the 3rd quarter and then explored the stadium before leaving to pick up some pizza.  Love Chicago's pizza, the best! 

Soldier Field was really impressive.  The outside looks kind of goofy with the old columns mixed with the new spaceship look, but the inside has a lot of history.  The giant columns were beautiful to walk through. 

There was a memorial wall that listed every player in BEARS history.  Cory really enjoyed browsing through the list and recognizing some of the players names.   

This wall was amazing.  The detail of this picture made the people look very real.  We were so glad we had the opportunity to visit Chicago and explore Soldier Field.  

It was a perfect date night!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Mariah is DRIVING!

Mariah's driving!  She has her temporary learners permit and she is officially behind the wheel and on the streets!  She is doing great!  Mariah took the driver's education class this summer at her school.  She learned a lot about blind spots, the consequences of texting while driving, and that the road can be a scary place.  I've been making it a huge deal to point out all of the people texting and driving.  Have you ever looked around and observed all of the texters?  It is crazy!  Cory beeped at a young female driver yesterday because she was swerving and texting.  She never even looked up and acknowledge that we beeped. 

We are very excited for Mariah, but very nervous for her at the same time.  We know that she will do fine.  We have complete faith in her, but we are worried about all of the other drives.  Please remind everyone you know that texting while driving is not safe!  Pay attention while on the road, because many people around you are not paying attention. 

Good luck Mariah!  We pray for your safety behind the wheel and in the passenger seat with your friends!  God, please keep her safe. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

I Love My Blog

Some days, like today, I have nothing interesting to talk about, but I still ramble out thoughts of nothingness on my blog.  I love my blog.  I love looking back through my blog and wondering why I didn't start it sooner.  I've never been good at scrap books, I'm horrible at recording the kids milestones on paper or in any type of journal or baby book, and I'll be the first to admit that my memory sucks.  With that said, thank goodness for my blog!  I record it all here.  For all to read, some to comment, and mainly for my own documentation.  Thank you for giving me this space on the world wide web to record life's happenings.  Without this blog my life's most amazing moments would happen, but the details would be forgotten. 

And a little more randomness for today:

I bought a rug for the family room.  Yes, carpet over carpet.  Some day I dream of a wood floor under the rug, but until then... double carpet.  Not my favorite look, but I wanted a rug. 

 I spray painted!  What did I learn?  ...that I like painting with a brush better, but it was still fun. 

The basement walls are finally getting decorated!  I am loving these pieces that I picked up at Pier 1.

Here's my latest little pinterest project.  I painted the clothes pins, hot glued them to a 4 foot ruler, and hung it on the wall.  I used the back side of the ruler because it lists fun measurement facts.  I love reading those facts to the kids.

My walls look really yellow in these pictures.  Yuck.  Here is a glimpse of the kids hallway.  Next up, new pictures frames and more of them.  That is Mariah's door at the end of the hall.  Can you tell?

My boys ;-)  Ethan drives pretty crazy so we put a bike helmet on Carter just in case he were to tumble out of the gator.  Carter holds on really tight though so I don't think we have much to worry about.  

Look at this little man go!  He is definitely walking!  He's a bit wobbly still, but is finally choosing walking over crawling.  Way to go Carter!

That's all for now! 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Ethan's Results

Last Friday we took Ethan in for a work up of tests following the possible seizure scare mentioned here.  Ethan had some blood taken, an EKG test, and he had to pee in a cup.  All of his test results have come back normal.  He has been completely fine since the scare.  We really have no idea what happened or why it happened.  I am hoping it never happens again.  We have an EEG schedule for this Friday morning, but we need to confirm with his doctor whether or not this test is necessary. 

Thanks for all of your kind words and prayers! 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A Seizure

We think Ethan might have had a seizure yesterday morning. 

We were going through the normal morning routine.  Struggling with getting Ethan to brush his teeth before getting dressed.  He is pretty messy with his tooth paste so we try to save the day's clothing for after brushing teeth.  Yesterday morning Ethan started complaining about a stomach ache.  This is also pretty much a daily occurrence.  Then he used the bathroom (#2) and came back to the sink to finally start brushing his teeth.  He complained more of his tummy hurting.  Then grabbed his chest between his collar bones and started squealing about how much it hurt.  I put my hand on his chest and asked if it was his stomach that was hurting because he was grabbing much higher.  At that moment he went limp and fell in to my arms.  I carried him across the bathroom asking him to stand up.  He wouldn't straighten his legs.  I though maybe he was joking around because he can be very dramatic and very noodle-like in the morning when he wants to lay back down instead of brush his teeth.  I managed to get him in to our bedroom as I yelled for Cory.  Cory came running in and as I explained what was going on, Cory picked up Ethan and held him.  I looked at Ethan's face over Cory's shoulder.  Ethan's arms were straight down to his side with no movement.  Ethan's face was blank.  His eyes were half open.  I was yelling to him that he needed to use his words and tell us what he's feeling and what's going on.  He didn't respond.  He just kept staring straight ahead.  Cory told me that I had to calm down and he walked across the room and put Ethan on the bed.  We were ready to call 911, but at that moment Ethan finally let out a little grunt, then started mumbling about his tummy hurting.  We sat and watched him for a couple minutes as he came back around.  We were unsure if this episode was real or if Ethan was being dramatic about it.  I know that sounds horrible to say, but he is a very dramatic child that has scared us in the past, but never, never, like this.  After processing what happened we knew that something was wrong, but what?  What caused our loving little man, fever free, cold free, otherwise completely healthy little child, to completely blank out for about a minute?  I put my head on his chest and listened to his heart beat.  It was normal.  I felt his forehead for a temperature, but he felt fine, a little clammy, but his temp was fine.  His face was white.  His lips had a tinge of blue, but was that the tooth paste that he had just put to his mouth?  I grabbed a towel and wiped off his lips.  He was pale.  His lips matched his skin.  We decided against calling 911.  We saw that he was recovering and we wanted to watch him.  Within minutes he started watching tv and talking about the ice cream on the commercial.  About 5 minutes later he sat up and drank a cup of milk.  20 minutes later he ate a pancake and had some more milk.  For the rest of the day he was completely normal.  He was himself.  He wasn't sure if he knew what happened.  He tried to recall it, but all he could say was, "I was trying to tell you I didn't feel good".

I took Ethan to the doctor at 10am and told the pediatrician about the incident.  The doctor thinks that Ethan may have had a small seizure.  He said we may never figure out what exactly happened or what caused it.  I have to be honest, I hope the doctor is right.  I hope we never figure it out and that it NEVER happens again.  I am okay with the mystery as long as Ethan is okay from here forward.  The doctor is ordering lab work, an EKG, and an EEG.  We start most of the process tomorrow and go back next Friday for the EEG.  Please say some prayers for Ethan.  Keep us in your thoughts and pray that nothing life changing comes out of this. 

I was fine yesterday.  I handled the situation pretty well after my initial panic.  Some friends asked how I was doing and I said fine.  I go numb with medical situations after all that we went through 6 years ago with Mariah.  I didn't want to be numb yesterday, but I was.  I enjoyed my day home with Ethan.  I took him shopping, bought him some new shoes, a new toy, and snuggled with him as much as possible.  He was fine.  His tummy hurt on and off, his farts were off the chart stinky, but his energy level was normal.  Today, Ethan is still fine.  He tells people that he had a seizure.  Means nothing to him.  Doesn't scare him at all, it's just something that happened.  Today, I am not fine.  I am not with Ethan so I am over processing and starting to panic.  The doctor's office called me and set up the appointment for the EEG.  I asked a ton of questions and the more I asked, the more worried I became.  The doctor mentioned heart palpitations yesterday.  I have heart palpitations.  The doctor asked how Ethan's breathing was during his episode.  I have no idea.  He wasn't showing signs of rapid breathing.  He was still.  Was he breathing?  I have no idea.  What if that entire time I was freaking out and he was still, what if he wasn't breathing?  Is that why he was pale?  That is what keeps replaying in my mind today.  What happened.  Where was my little man during that minute that he blanked out?  Will this happen again?  I am scared. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

My Favorite Spot

Do you have a favorite spot in your house?  A place where you go to be alone, drink your coffee while the kids are still asleep, or talk on the phone without interruptions? 

I have a favorite spot.  It's small, but charming.  It's the first place people see when they walk in my front door.  We rarely use the front door so it's often forgotten space until one of us needs a moment away or a moment to watch the cars go by.  I love sitting on the bench while drinking my coffee on weekend mornings. I love even more when one of the kids quietly joins me.  I've even found the kids sitting on this bench with a book enjoying a little quiet time of their own.  Just a quiet little place to sit and enjoy.  

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


We went on our first camping trip and we survived!  We have been talking about going camping for years, but I just couldn't break down enough to be okay with sleeping outdoors.  Sounds crazy, right? I grew up on a farm and used to tent camp all the time as a child, but as an adult I just had no desire to leave my comfy indoor elements overnight.  Well... before you give me too much credit for giving in and sleeping outdoors... I'll have to confess that we weren't actually camping... we were "glamping" otherwise known as glamour-camping when sleeping outdoors in a luxurious camper.  I never in my life thought I would own a camper.  Cory must have worn me down over the past five years of begging, because I finally gave in.  This ugly-lawn-ornament beauty is all ours. 

We had a lot of fun camping.  We spent the weekend at a local campsite with some great friends.  We wanted to stay close to home since we had no idea what we were doing and how to operate this large  beast.

We spent a lot of time in the water.  The pond was very clean and inviting.  There were a couple nibbling fish incidents (myself included), but as long as we kept moving around we were okay.   

The girls ventured off and did their own thing most of the time.  It was a very active campground with tons of activities.  Mariah and Paige spent a lot of time on the water.

Cory and Ethan went out fishing early Sunday morning.  They caught three blue gills and one sunfish.  They didn't keep any of the fish, but they had some memorable father-son time which is exactly what this trip was all about, staying connected as a family.

Our area is under a drought warning so we were banned from burning which meant no campfires for us. Being the resourceful bunch that we are, we made our own make-shift campfire using our small charcoal grill. Worked perfectly for burning roasting marshmallows. Delicious!


I'm glad I finally gave in to this camping-glamping-outdoor-adventure. We will definitely be taking a lot more family camping trips. I'm already working on planning our trip for next month.  We can do this!