Prairie Fest Weekend!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016
Parenting has changed.  Here's proof.  This is a picture of our little town's summer festival 6 years ago:

Checking out the inside of a firetruck or ambulance in the "touch a truck" attraction - one that we don't even bother with anymore.

And here is a picture of Prairie Fest this year:
Me and some girlfriends hanging out with only rare sightings of our kids.
So the moral of the story is that my kids are getting big and it changes the complexion of events such as this.  There is so much coolness to this, but I also miss seeing them ride every ride, seeing one doze in a stroller and heading home for nap time.  Nap time rocks.  Let's just all admit this.

But Prairie Fest was a long, hot, packed, great weekend with its fair share of baseball thrown in.  Here are some pictures!


The 1 milers

Some special people cheered on all the runners!

Prairie Fest concert

Parade!

Girls enjoying the concert on a beautiful evening!

Smashmouth
Sigh.  We love this weekend and are sad it's over, but look forward to more summer free time and special occasions on the horizon!

REWIND

Thursday, June 9, 2016
Better late than never!  My vacation from blog updates appropriately depicts how busy the end of the the school year plus baseball season can get!  We're well into summer break now.  The kids have already mastered sleeping in; summer chores are getting done with little complaint, and I've fed an average of 1 extra kid for lunch every day!

But first, let's rewind.  Deep breath and...

1) Will, along with his 5th grade class, took part in the "Panthers on the Run" tradition at his school...a 2-hour relay in which Will individually ran 5.5 miles!  It was an impressive, inspiring morning for all the kids!

2) Field Day!  I volunteered the whole day that managed to stay dry.  The kids love this day and my game of yard tic tac toe was highly competitive!

  The Focus.



3) Paige went to Six Flags and performed (receiving first place) with the 7th grade band!  It was a full, fun day! She also made the 8th grade cheer team!

4) Good grades to wind up the year!  In addition, Cole received the boy character award for 2nd grade and Will received top score in a national math test!

5) Garden Planted!

6) Camping trip to Starved Rock the weekend school let out!  Perfect weather!
This is a meltdown.

Pre-hike pic!

Family pic!
7) The last weekend of April we headed to Michigan for a Abby and Brice's wonderful wedding!




8) A trip to the Cougars game for school reading, and then a whole family trip to Wrigley for the first time! (Rich's birthday present)!
He wanted a ball.  So. Bad.

Great Grandpa Fischer's memorial brick!

Go Cubs! (unfortunately, they didn't.  They lost)

See the girl behind us?  Yeah, Paige wasn't a fan of hers.

9)  Quick visit from the Diehls as they headed to meet their new niece/cousin!

Picture recreation from one taken almost 8 years prior.

Snacks, beer and cards.  Like college all over again.

10)  Lastly, summer down time!  Soaking it in as we are only more and  more aware of how fast time flies!

Okay, so into week 2 of June and I'm caught up!  Hoping for more updates of fun summer activities, trips, and photo-worthy moments!

Springtime highlight!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016
Among the household projects (window guys currently at my home making it possible to actually see out of our windows again), pollen allergies , baseball season startup, and school year crunch time, spring brings a birthday in this household.  This year, he has 8 years under his belt.

Cole has become such a firecracker.  His small, compact build makes possible speed and agility that comes easily.  He can hold his own among those older (along with a new-found temper shining through when the situation calls for it) and has become quite the athlete.  In fact, recess football games are a mainstay for him and his friends.  So, this year we decided he could have the biggest birthday party he'll probably have at a local training center to play football with an ex-Chicago Bears football player. 

We invited 13 boys and guess what?  They all could make it! ;) It was a high-energy hour of constant football action followed by Jimmy John's sandwiches (Cole's favorite) and cupcakes.  Definitely a celebration that perfectly represented our new 8 year old.



 The following evening we had a family gathering to celebrate!  Thankful for the beautiful weather that allowed us to be outside and led to a neighborhood "scary" game that had Olivia right in the middle!
Kylo Ren.  This plus new Nerf guns.  You can imagine.

Cole and baby Jacob


Wearing 3 layers; Cubs tshirt, Manning jersey, Schwarber jersey.  This is SO Cole.
I'm so thankful for this kid.  Sure, he talks a lot, wears more accessories than I do, and his organizational strategies are "unconventional," but he is ALWAYS on top of things, helps me when I'm looking like I need it, and will always choose to do something together versus alone.  Happy birthday, Cole Everett!

SPRING BREAK!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016
All caps and explanation mark...that's how we were looking forward to spring break this year.  And it was the beachy, shell-finding, good eating, warm weather,  quality family time break we were hoping for.

I feel like I, thankfully, live a life in which I enjoy most days.  Therefore, I'm not in a position to be counting down to vacation in a dramatic fashion.  However, a break from the daily grind is good for the soul, no doubt.  Add a cool drink in the hot sun with your toes in the sand...and, yes.

We made sure to prepare the kids for a NOT Disney Florida vacation, lest they picture themselves seeing famous characters, riding thrilling rides, or watching a jaw-dropping fireworks display.  And you know what?  They didn't seem to care.  They rolled right into sea-life watching, beach sport playing, restaurant rating spring breakers.  It. Was. Great.

For some perspective, our last beach vacation was in 2010.  It involved checking car seat boosters and strollers, using diaper bags as carry ons, and sippy cups:


And here we are this year:



Time is crazy. 


Here are some more pictures of our time!
Swimming with wild dolphins and seeing so much sea life!

Walkway ends at the beach!

Sunsets!

Will.  Contemplating life.


A dinner-in night

Crazy coincidence that my girlfriends are within a couple hours away!  Worth an afternoon trip to spend some beach time together!

Mussels.  She ate this way the whole time. To quote one server we had, she "killed it" eating the seafood she ordered.
Cole: the beach sport pro.  He bought this one with his vacation money...paddle ball.

Pier at Times Square

Not Bored

Friday, March 4, 2016
I would like to take a moment to record how, at this phase of raising kids, I'm still not bored.  Keeping busy is important to me.  I'm not a good "sitter" until evening rolls around and I have a great list of things I've accomplished for the day.  One might suggest that with 3 kids out of the house for 6 hours of the day, there might be some thumb-twiddling time.  Not so.  Let me detail all the different hats I wore yesterday alone:
  • Plumber: switching out the built-in soap dispenser in the kitchen sink
  • Launderer: because...everyday
  • Athlete: daily workout
  • Dog walker/feeder: times two since we are watching my mother-in-law's dog
  • Maid: all bedding washed and beds vacuumed and cleaned (motivation thanks to article I read regarding dust mites and other nasty things)
  • Teacher's Aid: lunch duty, 3rd and 5th grade...organized chaos
  • Food procurer: food for a week in the fridge
  • English tutor: help with a 5th grade essay / Powerpoint
  • Junior High counselor: because 7th grade girls
  • Chef: not gourmet, but dinner nonetheless
  • Mom: bedtime reading and snuggles
  • Wife: DVR date!
And I love it!  I love being busy and especially busy doing so many different things.  Variety is so satisfying.  Of course, there ARE some not-so-satisfying moments.  Like when Cole comes home and announces that the snack I packed him tasted like dog food smells.  nice.

Here's a look at some things we've been up to...
I love how excited they get for our little jaunts to the bus stop!

This.  It looks like three lockers for my kids, but really, it's heaven.

Discovering toys not played in a while!

Boys earned a couple free tickets to the Chicago Wolves game!

Lots of entertainment!