Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Fall pics, continued

So, speaking of reading in the big playroom are a few pics of John and Lila attempting to read together in the chair. They often have a hard time deciding who gets to hold the book, which usually leads to a screaming and/or crying little girl and a frustrated little boy. 

The kids (especially John) like to look at toy catalogs when they come in the mail. Lila is eyeing a Minnie Mouse Bow-tique item in the catalog below. This is a good picture of Lila wearing pigtails! I love pigtails on her.

These next two pictures of Lila are some of my all-time favorites. She looks so serious! The outfit she's wearing is one of my favorites, too. Aunt Jen made her adorable pink flower clip!
The complete outfit.....
And the last two pics for the evening -- John and Lila looking so sweet as they pose in the pajamas we got at Once Upon a Child  (Power Rangers for John and Minnie Mouse for Lila).


Monday, November 12, 2012

Fall pics, part 1 of many

The first day of school for the kids was Wednesday, September 5th! John and Lila attend the same school at our church in Elm Grove. John has preschool 3 days a week (Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays), and Lila goes to the toddler Mother's Day Out program once a week (Wednesdays). They were so excited! I can't believe how willing they were to pose for these pictures I took that morning..... 

I discovered this really nice park/playground in Brookfield called Wirth Park that we took the kids to in mid-September. The playground equipment there must be at least as old as I am, but the kids loved it! There's one of those metal merry-go-round things there as well as the tallest metal slide you've ever seen and those metal sand diggers -- everything was METAL. Not a very forgiving material for children. I wonder when playground manufacturers decided to start using plastic and/or wood instead!

Our playroom at its cleanest state is finally organized enough to be photographed.

Some new additions to the room are the craft table and four chairs, which I got for $100 at a garage sale in Naperville this summer. They're from Land of Nod and only a couple of years old! (The lady's kids had outgrown them). It would have cost five times that amount to buy them from the store. And notice the kids' artwork above the table.....we've been taping their masterpieces on the wall since the first day of school. I let them decide where they want each piece taped, so that's why everything is so randomly spread out, hehe.

Also, I put my Grandpa Glenn's globe (from the 1940s) and my mom's alphabet cross-stitch on top of the tall bookcase in the corner. My mom loved that globe and always had it in the office at her house. I like to look at it and think about how different the world looks today. The kids just like to spin it around -- all that geography goes right over their heads, of course. The alphabet cross-stitch was a something my mom had made for her niece in the late 1970s as a baby gift. When John and I lived at her house during Ross' deployment, she spent hours cleaning the background of the cross-stitch with bleach since it had yellowed with age. We had planned to mat and frame it to hang it in the basement play area of her house.

These alphabet cards were a gift to Lila from our family friend, Wrenne Jakubiak. Lila loves to talk about them while she's getting her diaper changed on the changing pad (which we moved from an actual changing table that we used to have in the room to the storage bench in order to save space).

Finally, here is the new reading area of the playroom. We didn't really have a reading area before because of the changing table, but when we brought this chair and ottoman home from my mom's house (thinking we'd bring it upstairs to John's room), we literally couldn't get it through the hallway into the rest of the house -- it's huge!! So we had to keep it in the playroom, but I'm really glad we did. It is the perfect place to read to the kids. We can all sit comfortably in it because of how wide it is.

More pics to come tomorrow night.....I am feeling ambitious about blogging!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Lila's birthday weekend

Lila turned 2 on Friday, October 26th!!! Her birthday was very relaxed. As is typical for her these days, Lila slept late that morning, so John and I took the opportunity to prepare a special birthday breakfast for her -- pumpkin muffins (with Minnie Mouse muffin cups). Then we "borrowed" Minnie and Mickey Mouse plates from the stash of birthday party paper products so the food would look even more festive. She was SO excited to see her favorite character at the breakfast table, as you can see below. And notice her birthday outfit, which included the same pink tutu she wore for her 1st birthday party and a pink cupcake t-shirt, which I bought months ago while she was going through a particularly intense cupcake obsession.

After breakfast, we went to a playdate at the home of our new friends, Ollie (Olivia, who's 21 months) and Miss Abbi. (They live just down the road from us in Elm Grove, not too far from John's school.) John and Lila couldn't get enough of Ollie's new toy -- those little plastic balls that are in jumping pits at Chuck E. Cheese. They both climbed into Ollie's plastic infant bathtub (which she now uses as a toy) and then wanted me to put all of the balls in the tub with them. Rub a dub dub, two kiddos in the tub! I wish I had gotten a picture of them with my phone, but of course I forgot. I think I'll get this toy for the kids for Christmas.
Miss Abbi and I decided to extend the playdate with lunch at Chipotle. It's amazing how many birthdays our family has celebrated at various Chipotles over the years! Then we went home for a "birthday nap." The kids needed to rest so they'd be fresh for the arrival of Papa Harry and Grandma Robin, who were driving down to Milwaukee for a weekend visit! Mommy had to finish cleaning while the kids were sleeping. 

Papa and Grandma arrived in time for us to all go to dinner together.  We took them to Marty's Pizza, a really popular local place that's been around forever and that we used to go to more than 20 years ago when Papa and Grandma lived in Waukesha (a suburb of Milwaukee). Lila was a total ham all night. She loved playing with Grandma and wanted Grandma to hold her constantly ("Uppies! Uppies!" she says, meaning, "Up, please!")
When we got home, it was already so late that it didn't make sense to open any of Lila's birthday presents. Instead, we let the kids play in John's room for a little bit. Papa and Grandma had brought Uncle David's old Texas Longhorns twin-size comforter for John to have, and the kids wanted to play a "sleeping game" with it. Daddy laid the comforter down on the rug along with some pillows, turned off the light, and he and the kids went "night night" together. Hehe, you can imagine that there wasn't much actual sleeping in this game. John and Daddy pretended to snore, and Lila was the enforcer, telling the boys over and over again to "lay down" and "go night night." I got some pictures once we turned the lights back on.....hook 'em!
The next morning, we went to Jim's Pumpkin Patch in Germantown with the Boenitzes, who just moved to Wisconsin this fall! We wanted to get some pumpkins to carve during Lila and Kael's joint birthday party later that afternoon (Kael turned 2 on October 24th -- he and Lila were born just two days apart)! The kids loved the tractor-pulled hayride out to the pumpkin patch. There were a bunch of other activities to keep them busy, too, which was nice, since we were trying to ensure the kids tired themselves out enough to take good naps.


Kael napped at our house so we could start the joint birthday party as soon as all the kids woke up. It was a small birthday party -- just Kael and his Mommy and Daddy (Aunt Chiara and Uncle Eric), Kael's grandma (Chiara's mom), the four of us, and Grandpa Harry and Grandma Robin -- but it was nice to have things be so relaxed! We had a very easy Tex-Mex menu of creamy chicken enchiladas, rice, black beans, and chips and salsa, and I can say without any doubt that we all ate WAY too much food. Of course that didn't stop any of us from enjoying dessert -- Mickey and Minnie Mouse cupcakes and vanilla ice cream. Here are some pictures from the evening.....
Carving the pumpkin....we used trash bags for smocks!
Lila with Papa Harry....she wasn't too interested in the carving process.

Kael gets a ride on the train from his grandma!

Opening presents in the living room......there was a distinct Minnie/Mickey Mouse theme to the gifts for Lila. The rolling duffel bags (see below) were a huge hit, thank you Aunt Chiara and Uncle Eric! The Minnie Mouse Bow-tique fashion set was very popular, too, even with John (he still asks to play with it more than a week later). Papa Harry and Grandma Robin gave Lila the Bow-tique, along with the cutest Minnie Mouse outfit ever (see her wearing it in the photos at the bottom of this post).



Grandma Robin looking on as Kael and Lila give hugs to Grandma Cynthia.....and Grandma Robin helping the kids take a pony ride on Grandma Cynthia's back!



Cupcake time! Lila was dainty with her cupcake, whereas Kael was  destructive with his (notice all the crumbs on his side). The frosting was their favorite part for sure.




Finally, here are some pics from Sunday morning, when Lila opened her gifts from Grandma Bonnie and Papa Jeff and Uncle Jesse and Aunt Sarah. John had fun helping her opening everything. Lila got so many adorable outfits and the cutest pairs of Hello Kitty shoes from Grandma and Papa.






Lila-Pie, we're so thankful for you! You are such a joy to have in our family. A happy, happy 2nd birthday to you, dear daughter!