Monday, June 18, 2012

A Fabulous Father's Day!

We had a fabulous Father's Day weekend celebrating all of the fantastic Dad's in our life! 
We started out on Friday night by taking Mark shopping for a Father's Day gift- a new baseball cap. We spent the evening at Park Meadows, shopped, and ate at the food court! A cheap way to feed a family of 5! The boys split one piece of pizza from Sabarro and Mark and I chose what we wanted. We all split a drink and got plenty of free refills! Ha! What will we do when we have 3 big boys to feed?! 

While out shopping we picked up something for the boys too! Mark had been wanting to get Nolan his first baseball glove. We have finally settled on the fact that he is a lefty! So it was time to make the purchase! We still aren't sure what Heath will be, so we held off on buying him one too. Sometimes he uses his left hand and sometimes his right. He seems to do pretty well with both. So we'll just wait and see and for now,  he can practice with Nolan's mitt. 

Saturday morning we hung out as a family and made Green Monster Smoothies! Spinach, apples, pears, lemon, and more. Nolan liked it alright, although, we are still not sure if that's the source of the rash he got the next morning! Maybe he's allergic to spinach? Who knows?! We've made them every day since trying to perfect the right combination of fruits and veggies! But we think we have perfected the recipe now...just trying to get some more green vegetables into our kids diet! 

We spent the morning practicing our bike riding and enjoying some cooler weather finally. Then Mark had to go to church to practice and sing for the evening service. The boys took naps and when they all woke up, and Daddy was home, it was back outside for some more fun! 

The boys practiced throwing and catching with their new glove. 

And we enjoyed some juicy watermelon! 

It was a nice night for a barbecue! 

Sunday morning, Mark was back at church from 7a.m. until noon singing at services. We joined him at the 9:30 service and then came home to prepare a few surprises for him! 
Nolan worked hard on his card and a little dictation project too! (You can see Mark's new Rockies hat in the background of this picture.)

I just love his face when he gives gifts! It really is his love language! 

He gets more excited to give than to receive! 

They sure love their Daddy! 

I made cards this year on Shutterfly. They were only $1.50 and they could be addressed and mailed right to the recipient. It was cheaper than buying a card from the store and mailing it myself! And they were personalized with pictures and text! Super cute! 

Here are some photos of what Nolan and I worked on for his Daddy and Grandpa and Opa! 

I just love how he really thought about each person specifically and came up with a few special things that were true about each one. 

He even decided where to draw each person or what to have them doing in each picture he made. 

 The funniest part was that each person was born in Mexico! I have no idea where he came up with that! Ha! 

In the afternoon, Mark and his Dad went to see the movie, The Avengers! Then they met up with us at Grandma Inge's pool in the late afternoon. 
 We swam and had a poolside pizza picnic! 

 Heath LOVES the water! 

 He never wants to get out! 

 And he is learning to swim with floaties on all by himself! He is doing awesome! 

 Nolan is just as cautious as ever, but enjoys playing in the shallow end, sitting on the steps in the water, and LOVES all pool toys! And he also loves popsicles at the pool! 

Nolan always repeats word for word everything that Oma tells him throughout the day when he is at her house. One story he often tells me is about how Oma doesn't like it when Opa eats a spoonful of peanut butter at night and leaves his spoon in the sink without rinsing it off. Nolan thinks this is hilarious! So we came up with the idea to get Opa some peanut butter for Father's Day. He also told Nolan that Oma never buys him the good of course we had to treat him to some Jif! 

 Nolan had a great time giving his thoughtful gift to his Opa! 

 They thought it was pretty funny! 

 And of course we had to read what Nolan had to say about Opa too and give him a new raincoat as well! 

After the pool, we came home to Skype with my Dad! We had fun watching him open up his presents from us- a McDonalds gift card (Nolan picked it out- he thinks this is the best gift to give to anyone! But it will buy Grandpa some coffees in the morning!), a Kohl's gift card for a summer hat or shirt, and some gummy bears (his favorite)! We were sad not to be able to spend actual time with Grandpa on Father's Day, but Skype is the next best thing! I don't know what we'd do without it! 

So, we were busy, but we had a great time celebrating all the men who have constantly supported us with their time, love, and encouragement! 

Thank you Mark for truly loving our kids for the unique persons God created them to be, for being the most fun playmate to them, and for showing them how to love and respect the women in their lives!

Thank you Dad for being a humble, hardworking servant to your family, for doing anything for me, and now my 4 boys as well! 

Thank you Bruce for always supporting us and valuing family time so much! 

And thank you to our heavenly Father who has deeply blessed us with an amazing family and for His ultimate sacrifice- sending his Son to die for us so that we can spend eternity with him in heaven. Amazing love!  

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Mr. 6 Months...

Brooks is 6 months old! 
 This month he's spent lots of time at the pool...

 and in the exersaucer! 

 He does tummy time and rolls over on the floor...

 He love rattles and toys...

 and sitting up! 

AND he just got his 1st tooth! Yay for firsts, for fun, and for Brooksie's ever present smile! We love our happy, easy going boy! 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Memorial Day = Cabin Time

We got home from Chicago late Sunday night, the next day was Memorial Day. We went up to the cabin for the afternoon and evening to relax in God's beautiful creation and spend time with family. 
 The kids all loved playing in the covered wagon bench from Oma Bosch's house. 

 And of course, Nolan spent a lot of time in the sandbox!  

 He loves all the old trucks and trailers.

 Payton got a kitten for her birthday. Her name is Lilly. And Heath was in love with her! He picked her up, held her, and let her climb all over him! It was pretty stinkin' adorable! 

 All the kids climbed up in Uncle Ken's old truck that Sue now drives. 

 They had a good ol' time jumping and climbing around in it, "driving" the steering wheel, and honking the horn! 

We did a LOT of chillin'! It was heavenly! 

And we celebrated Cohen's 2nd Birthday! 

Happy Birthday Co Co! 

Jayne made these adorable Elmo cupcakes. And she made some Cookie Monster ones too! 

The Barker Fam came up as well. I can't believe that these 2 big boys were our ring bearers 9 years ago! Josh & Jake are so good at playing with all the little guys! 

I just realized I have no pictures of Brooks! Needless to say, he was a happy camper, being passed around and snuggled by many willing snuggles! The only downside to his day was his first experience with peas! He scarfed them down, but then barfed them back up later. And ever since, he wants nothing to do with this green veggie! 

 As always, it was another great day at the cabin! Looking forward to heading back up on the Fourth of July! 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Our Days in S-Wood...

Here are a bunch of random pics from our days at my parent's house...
Auntie Mal always has some fun tricks up her sleeves...1st up- Poppers! The boys loved throwing them and stomping on them to hear them POP! 

Next, Beach Ball fun! 

She also gives a mean bath...accompanied by the lyrics to "Red Solo Cup". My boys now know all the lyrics to the chorus and sing it regularly! Good thing they don't really know what it means! They fill their cups with milk and PARTY! 

Relaxing with some iPad's amazing to see the boys use the iPad so independently! I don't think I even touched a computer until I was at least in 5th grade! 

We went to the park one night.

It's always fun to explore new playgrounds! 

Auntie also broke out some new play dough! 

Brooks was a happy camper with so many willing snugglers all week! Nap time with Grandma! 

One evening Mark and I got a date night out with my dear childhood friend Kerri and her husband Joe! It was SO WONDERFUL to spend the night sipping margaritas, chatting, and laughing with them. 

We had the best time! Thanks to the fam for watching the boys so we could have an adult night out! 

And it wouldn't be a trip home without a stop by Streamwood Florist. I love my Soo and Ik! And they LOVE the boys! We chatted, caught up on life, smelled the beautiful flowers, and were treated to Slushees from White Hen! 

While we were home we got to go to my Mom's End of the Year Preschool Program. It was so fun to watch her with her kids and to hear them sing praises to God. Mark, Nolan, Brooks, and I went. Then we stopped by her classroom to play a bit and snag a few cookies from her party. Nolan loved checking out another Preschool classroom. He felt right at home and loved this Duplo table. And he LOVED when Grandma's class sang his favorite Grandma song: 5 Little Hotdogs! 

The boys really enjoy just being home at my parents house. They have such fun books and toys and they LOVE their cats- Tux and Griffin. They chased them around the house all week, constantly searched for them, and were fearless in the face of their hisses. Not sure the cats felt the same way about our boys! They weren't quite sure about these little people invading their quiet space. 

"Sleeping!" Ha!

On Friday night the whole family went out to dinner at our favorite Chicago style pizza place- Lou Malnati's! It was delicious! 
Then we came home for more Auntie Mal fun! She and Erik picked up balloons and an air pump and all the Non-Bloods practiced making balloon animals! You should have seen their faces blowing before we had the pump! It was quite the sight! They made flowers and snakes and puppy families and hats...pretty much anything the boys requested! 

Uncle T. and Nolan getting low! 

Grandma brought home all her finger puppets from school. Nolan had a blast with them! He mastered putting one on each finger! 

Mallory and I were talking about how our Mom never knew how to French Braid our hair when we were younger. So I tried my best on Mal. I guess I will never need to know how to perfect this skill either. The first side was much looser. I improved on the second side. She looked pretty cute! 

Playing Little People with Uncle T. and Laura! Laura was a stellar playmate for the boys! They love fresh meat! Ha! She has quite the imagination and she and Nolan really hit it off! 

We finished the night off with some games and drinks. 

And a drink just wouldn't be complete without a glowstick straw! So classy! 

We had the pleasure of having a nice lunch with my high school friends Don and Jocelyn and their adorable children- Brianna and Eli. It is so hard to see everyone when we come home because we are always so busy and also trying our best to keep the boys on a somewhat normal schedule. So we were so happy that it worked out for us to have a few special hours with the Vogel fam! We definitely missed seeing some of our oldest and dearest friends though.

Auntie made sticker charts for the boys for the week! They earned stickers for good behavior and long naps. Heath also earned them for going potty and staying dry! 10 stickers = a toy from Toys 'R Us! 

They did it! Nolan picked a Penguin Submarine and Heath picked...can you guess? Another Buzz Lightyear of course! Can you believe there was one that we didn't have already?! 

We all took my Grandma to Portillos for lunch and to celebrate her 91st birthday! She's a good ol' midwestern woman- still loves her burgers after all these years! I must take after her, because if you ask me what my favorite restaurant is- it's Portillos, for sure! LOVE their burgers! Nothing like 'em! Their Italian beef and hotdogs are pretty awesome as well! (Unfortunately, this trip I did not get a beef, but I did have a Nana's Hotdog! Gotta fit in all the Chicago style food I can when I'm there!)

It was so nice for the boys to be with their Great Grandma! She gave them each a special stuffed animal that she won from playing BINGO! Nolan got a little puppy, Heath got a black cat, and Brooks got a horsie. We will always treasure these special animals because they are from her! 

We also celebrated Tyler's birthday a week early. The boys had been eyeing this Mr. Potato head birthday card at Target so I told them they could pick it out for Uncle T. Nolan enjoyed putting the stickers on the "Tato" to dress him up! Uncle T. also spoiled our boys with gifts this week! He got Heath some Star Wars action figures and Nolan some Batman Legos! He is really getting into Legos these days! It's neat to see him build and use his imagination! 

Nap time with Auntie Mal

Tyler and Laura both work for The University of Oklahoma. So of course we had to get a pic of them with Brooks in his OU shirt! 

A goodbye pic with Grandma & Grandpa! 

So I know that was photo overload, but we just had the best time! I couldn't leave anything out! Thanks Fam for loving us and our boys so much!!! We SO wish we could all be together more often! But we deeply cherish our time with you! Can't wait until July when we'll see some of you in Colorado!