Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Our Christmas Tradition

This weekend we continued our tradition of cutting down our own Christmas tree.  This year was a little different than the last three though...there wasn't snow on the ground yet, but we decided we didn't want to wait for Mother Nature to cooperate.  Also, every year we go with intentions of getting a smaller tree (living in the city means our space is very limited) and every year we come back with a huge tree that we swear must have grown two feet in both directions on our way home.  We usually have to cut off part of the back side and a few inches of the trunk to allow it to fit in our dining room.  This year was different.  We chose the PERFECT tree.  The size is just right!  We also wasted no time picking it out which is usually a challenge all of its own.  Jon and I are both pretty particular, but I am TERRIBLE at making decisions.  I have to make sure I have measured ALL my options before I feel I can make an educated decision, but this year I bet we found our victim, er, I mean tree in less than 10 I just have to get the lights on it and get it decorated!

Our family picture. 
Not the greatest pic, but that is what happens when you are at the mercy of a stranger :o )
That is our tree behind us - before the cut.

Bowman is a Greater Swiss Mountain Dog.  He is bred to pull, so his Christmas 'treat' is to pull our tree back to the car every year.  Although he looks a little hesitant in this picture, I assure you he loves it!  Noah is excited to race Bowman.

Bowman at work.

Millie loves to have Noah pull her in the wagon.  Surprisingly, she sits still!

And Noah loves to pull his little sis.

The three amigos.
(I wish I could say the kids are so good at posing for pics and that is how I was able to get them both looking in the same direction - which NEVER happens, but they were actually looking at the tree as it fell off the top of the car!  I just got lucky.)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

At this moment...

Noah is laying face down on the hardwood in the middle of the dining room floor...who knows why...maybe because the window is open and a nice breeze in coming in?  It probably feels good to have fresh air - he has 'The Flu' - ugh.  Millie, is walking around flipping a pair of my (clean!) underware in the air...guess I should go find out where she got them.
That is what I get for trying to get some work done.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Too Sweet...

Noah has started a new collection - framed pictures.  He takes them from the lower shelves of our bookcases and moves them to his nightstand.  When I found the first one in his room (the family picture), I asked him how it got there.  He said he put it there because he likes to look at it when he wakes up in the morning.  I melted.  Over the past few weeks the collection has gradually grown to the four shown here.  I think that will be it...those are the only ones he could reach! 

Monday, November 2, 2009

Double Trouble

We actually don't have very many 'time outs' in our house...maybe one a week?  Not because I am a softie, but because Noah is pretty laid back overall and doesn't really push me to sending him there (which means either sitting in the hallway or sitting on the stairs - depending on where we are at the time). That being said, one action that will send him there without a warning is throwing things...especially hotwheels...especially at his sister.
Aparently she felt guilty about instigating...

Halloween 2009

I have always enjoyed Halloween and it is especially fun now that I have children, but man oh man it can be a lot of work. Noah talked about being a 'Scary Green Monster' for the past two months and I looked for a pre-made costume for some time...without any luck.  There also doesn't seem to be a demand for patterns for after close to TWENTY 'mom-hours', most of the time spent at the sewing machine pulling black fur out of the needle, I managed to put together a green monster costume that he was happy with and that withstood the test of two days at school and an evening of Trick-or-Treating.

Noah, the one-eyed, scary, green monster...ready to scare his classmates.

I volunteered in Noah's class on the day of their Harvest Party.  It was so fun to see how he interacts in the classroom setting...even if it was a little crazier than normal that day!

Millie was a little neglected this year when it came to the costumes. I had great intentions of making her an owl costume, then I was going to use the extra fabric from Noah's costume to make a matching monster costume to Noah's but with pink fur instead of black...

...and as you can see, in typical Tonya fashion...she is not an owl or a monster.  She is a ballerina, that I threw together at the last minute.  Sorry Millie, next year can be your year!

We walked around the neighborhood with our neighbors and each of their girls - a ladybug and a pony (both adorable!) - and pulled them around in our wagon.  Noah walked with Lilli (one of his 'best girls').  My parents were in town so my dad came along and helped corral the two big kids.  It was pretty chilly, but still very fun.  After about an hour we headed back and Jon and my mom had made a delicious dinner for all of us!  Yum!

Needless to say, things got a little crazy with 5 kids and 8 adults in the dining room.  Toys and candy were scattered everywhere, but it was just a sign of a good time.  In the midst of the chaos, Millie enjoyed playing with her treat bag.  She hasn't eaten any candy (exception: one sucker), but she loves to dump it out and put it back in the bag.
I hope everyone had a very happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A couple of Noah's latest antics

We sat down to have lunch and Noah started talking to his hotdog.  It went a little like this:
Noah:  "Hi Hotdog, I'm going to eat you now."
Hotdog (aka Noah using his low 'hotdog' voice):  "Okay, Noah"
He takes a bite of the hotdog
Hotdog:  "Ouch, ouch!  Noah, that hurts!"
Noah:  "Sorry Hotdog"
Hotdog:  "Thats okay, but your teeth are sharp.  Do you use your teeth to talk?"
Noah:  "No, hotdog, I use them to eat!"

As he is doing this I ducked behind the counter to call Jon.  I just had to share this with him!  I was trying to whisper so Noah wouldn't hear me, but I think my giggles gave me away.  I stood up and he was sitting there with a big grin on his face.  He totally caught me.

A week or so a go:
We were in the car and both Noah and Millie were a little fidgety.  I gave Noah a book to read and Millie the DoodlePro.  Noah was then upset because (of course) he wanted the DoodlePro.  I told him he needed to wait until Millie was finished with it, and gave him a pad of paper and a pen to drawn with instead.  He took the paper, tore off a sheet and asked me to 'show him how to draw an 'X.'  This was a little strange, because I know he knows how to draw an 'X', but I did it and handed it back.  He then took the pen and started to draw a little, but soon got frustrated and said in a very stern voice..."Mommy.  I don't know how to draw Millie's face on the 'X'.  I need you to help me."  Again, giggles insued.  He has done the samething another time since then, but used a red marker to make the 'X'.  He said he was making a sign to show Millie to 'stay off his stuff.'

The sibling rivalry begins...

Monday, October 19, 2009

My little pumpkins

For the past three years we have driven to County Line Orchard in Hobart, Indiana to choose our pumpkins and to pick apples. I love that we have continued this new family tradition so far. It is one of my favorite days of the year. We started going mainly for the pumpkins, but now I think we enjoy the apple picking just as much!
The first year we went Noah was 20 months old and it was exciting to see his reaction to the big pumpkins (they were all big compared to him!) and to watch him try to roll them. Last year was definitely not the best year, but memories were made nonetheless. It was Millie's first year to go, she was just 2 months old and I spent most of the time feeding her while Noah and Daddy stomped around the pumpkin patch. It was also very hot and buggie that year and we found ourselves losing patience with the mud and mosquitoes.
This year was different. Noah and Millie are now both at such an adventurous age it made this years trip the best yet!
The visit always starts the same...with pumpkin and apple spice doughnuts and hot apple cider. (I didn't say anything about it being a healthy day, but it is quite a treat for all of us!) This year we went through the petting zoo. The kids loved feeding the goats, piggies and cows. Once through the zoo we hitched a ride on the wagon to take the ride out to the pumpkin patch. After trudging through a little mud and picking our perfect pumpkins we headed back to the apple orchard to pick (...and sample) our apples. It always proves to be a long day, but the fun we have and the memories we make always make it well worth the trip. I can't wait to go back next year...
Noah being a good big brother and giving Millie a ride.
He did a great job and she surprisingly sat still and enjoyed the ride.

Noah searching for the 'perfect pumpkin.'
It had to be 'hu-uge' he said as he stretched his arms out to his sides.

Millie was determined as ever to pick one up.
She went from pumpkin to pumpkin trying to lift each one.

Family picture in the patch.

Millie liked taking bites out of each apple she picked.

"Mmmm, apples! My 'bays-rite'!"

Millie sharing her apple with me.

As you can tell we filled our wagon with lots and lots of autumn goodies!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Book Review - How Do Dinosaurs Say I Love You?

I decided to do a book review, my first, because I just love the newest addition to our personal library. How Do Dinosaurs Say I Love You by Jane Yolen is a book that just makes my heart melt. We have every 'How Do Dinosaurs...." book printed so far. The latest edition was released on October 8th - I pre-ordered it through Amazon and received it on October 8th and I have to say that eventhough Noah is the dinosaur lover in our house, I couldn't wait to open it either. All of these books have a little humor while teaching a little lesson. The illustrations are unmatched - so bright, fun and with lots of detail. I have always enjoyed reading them, but this one is different - it pulls on the old heart strings a little. It talks about how dinosaurs sometimes test their mommy's and daddy's patience, but mommy and daddy love them anyway. It is the perfect bedtime read at the end of a loooong day, the kind of day when you just can't wait for bedtime to come...but when it does come, this book will help you appreciate that day - good or bad and will make you look forward to the next.
Happy Reading!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Scenes of our Summer

This summer was such a whirlwind! We traveled out-of-town almost every weekend and although we had lots of fun going to showers, weddings, visiting family, etc, we also appreciated spending time at home too. Here are some of the highlights.

Noah splashing around in the rock stream at the Morton Arboretum. This was such a fun place. We spent a few hours here and didn't even come close to seeing all the fun children things to do.

At a Detroit Tigers game. We had amazing seats...right behind the Tigers dugout. Carlos Guillen and Miguel Cabrerra each threw Noah a baseball. He loved it!

Noah with Paws the Tiger. He danced on top of the dugout, then hopped down to take a picture with Noah. We felt like celebs.

A fun morning at the Green City Market in Lincoln Park. We like to walk around the farmer's market and scope out the goods. Last summer our favorite treat was the fresh cheese and herb crepes, but this year a new addition to the market, Seedling took over. They have delicious sorbet! Noah's favorite was blueberry and mine was rhubarb honey mint - you can't even imagine how wonderful this was. They used fresh mint, one of my faves. We also bought their Pear Butter to enjoy at home, yum!

Just a lazy weekday at home. It was a beautiful day so we had a picnic lunch outside. Even Bowman enjoyed lunch that day...Noah's and Millie's!

Noah working hard at Grandma and Grandpa K's house.

Millie enjoying the view at Grandma and Grandpa K's house.

At a pool party in the 'burbs. Millie just loves the water!

Every summer we have a family campout with my side of the family. My parents, brother, sister, aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc all attend. Most of them live near Cincinnati so I don't get to see them very often so it is nice to have a weekend to enjoy their company and catch up.

That picture is of the new tent we bought on the way rained most of the weekend this year and the tent LEAKED..a lot. Ugh. Needless to say, we returned it on the way back home.

One of the highlights of the camping trip is going to the creek to look for critters. This year we found lots of 'crawdads' and even a tadpole. No snakes...this year!

A picture of Millie with her Great Grandpa B.

At a playdate in Millenium Park.
We met our friends for a fun Wiggleworms sing-a-long and had a picnic lunch.

Noah was in two weddings this summer. He did a great job in both! Doesn't he look handsome? Here he is at my brother's wedding. If it looks like his hair is wet, that is because it is. It was a sizzling 90+degrees that day! Whoa!

Well, that is our summer in a nutshell. I hope you enjoy the pictures as much as we enjoyed taking them and experiencing them!

Long time, no post.

I know it has been some time since my last post. Our summer was a crazy one. We were out of town every weekend (excluding two or three) for showers, weddings, or other events and although we were having lots of fun, it left little time to sit down at the computer. I am hoping this fall will slow down a little so I can continue posting my families memories. In the meantime I will post a 'Summer Update' so everyone can get caught up.

I hope you all had a wonderful summer - I missed you!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

What a trooper!

After 4 hours of errands including 5 trips in and out of of the
car...Millie is STILL awake and quiet!! It must be the new carseat!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Cuddle Buddy

We spent the July 4th weekend at Grandma and Grandpa K's lake house -
fun times! But on our way home, we realized we left Bear (one of
Noah's 'best pals') behind. Noah sleeps with Bear every night.
Normally, this wouldn't be THAT big of a deal, but today he is leaving
for a week long camping trip with Grandma and Grandpa B. There is no
way to get Bear before the trip or mail him later this week. So in an
attempt to dodge a potential crisis I got my creative wheels turning
and came up with a solution that will hopefully keep everyone happy!
As soon as the fabric store opened, we were there to collect my
supplies. We were in and out in 15mins and after getting Millie down
for her nap I got to work...I made a pillow for Noah's other best pal,
Lightning McQueen (who, by the way, I now have an extra of just in
case he is misplaced again). The pillow has a little pocket on the
front for LMQ to tuck into so he doesn't get lost in the bed and will
maybe deter Noah from just playing with him when he should be
sleeping. Not too bad for a quick 20 minute project and so far it
seems to be a hit. Noah says that LMQ is 'Nice and cozy in there!'
Have fun on your trip Noah! We will miss you, but we are looking
forward to joining you on Friday!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The search is over.

We finally found him! Of course he was in one of the most obvious
places...Noah's drawer in the kitchen where he keeps his art supplies
and 'upstairs' toys. Duh!!
Lesson learned: Always have a backup!
You better believe I will be picking up an extra Mr. McQueen next trip
to Target!


We are having sort of a small crisis here today. Noah has lost his Lightning McQueen car. He just keeps saying... "I can't find my best pal Lightning McQueen! He usually gets 'lost' multiple times a day, but we are usually able to find him within about 10 mins of looking. This morning we have searched all over the house and haven't had any luck so far.

Please be on the lookout for him.

Hotwheels style car,
Red with a 95 on the side
No headlights
Lots of scratches and body damage...all inflicted with love, of course.
Please post a comment with any clues or knowledge of his whereabouts. I think I might go crazy if we can't find him...or I might just have to make a sneaky trip to Target!

Saturday, June 20, 2009


I couldn't resist posting this picture of little Miss Mills. We were
at the farmer's market this morning and she was supposed to be napping
in the stroller, but instead she was slumpped down in the seat peeking
out under the middle bar and playing peek-a-boo with the blanket. She
can't stand to be left out of anything!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Order Complete!

I have been as busy as a bee and now I have another wedding invitation
order completed! Yeah! I will try to relax a little this weekend
before digging back into the next one on my list...

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

She has her Mommy's hair!

Millie definitely has her Mommy's hair...well at least she does in
this picture...literally! My hair is so long it was hanging over
Millie's head while I was holding her and Jon took a picture. We
thought it was hilarious.

Maybe this is a sign that it is time to finally cut my hair so I can
donate it. I have grown my hair out to donate to Locks of Love during
each of my pregnancies. I feel fourtunate that I am able to have
babies and that is my way of 'giving back' ...but I have yet to cut it
after Millie was born...ten months ago! Maybe next week will be the
week. It has to happen soon- it is driving me crazy! I will keep you

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Rain Rain Go Away

What's better on a rainy day than a trip to the Childrens Museum,
going out to a fun lunch and watching a good movie from an impromptu
tent Mommy threw together! I just wish Millie enjoyed it as much as
Noah did!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Noah Visits the Dentist

First, a little background:
Noah's feelings about brushing his teeth seem to change on a whim. The first two and a half years of his life he LOVED his toothbrush. I first introduced it to him at 10months in an attempt to keep him from rolling over and wiggling around while putting his jammies on before bed. At that point, he would just chew on it, but it still got him used to the idea of having it in his mouth.

He was still interested in his bristle-y buddy when we moved it to the bathroom and added a little toothpaste. Even his doctor was surprised to hear Noah was always eager to clean his petite pearly whites. But about three months ago something changed his feelings - I wish I knew what it was, and brushing his teeth became a nightly battle neither of us looked forward to. He HATED it and threw a fit every night. day a few weeks ago, during one of our ritual Battle of the Brushes. On this night, he had a little icecream after dinner and soon after finishing we went downstairs to start our bedtime routine. When the time came to brush his teeth, Noah put his hands over his mouth and started shaking his head (like he had every night for the past three months) and I then told him firmly "Noah, you have to brush the ice cream off your teeth!" I have no idea what made this idea so appealing to him (nor do I really care), but ever since I just tell him it is time to brush the ice cream off his teeth and he usually gets right to work...regardless of whether he had ice cream or not.

So after making that much progress just a few weeks ago, I did NOT want to undo it with a nightmare of a trip to the dentist.

Usually I plan something like this out very well. I think of all possible scenarios and make sure I have a solution for each ready. Well, unfortunately I ran out of time so instead I told him we had to go to the dentist so they could 'tickle our teeth.' Not only did I not prepare him well, but, I had also scheduled my appointment at the same time and took Millie with me. WHAT WAS I THINKING??

As I sat in the waiting room...waiting - 20 mins after my scheduled appointment time (which was now just 15mins before our usual lunchtime and 45 mins before naptime) I sent Jon a quick email to tell him that I was totally regretting making our appointments together, why didn't I get a sitter for Millie, why did I schedule it for this time of day, why hadn't I prepared Noah better, why didn't I bring a snack for Millie!! I began to panic. How did I think this was going to work? Did I really think Noah would sit still like a perfect angel in a chair while I had my teeth cleaned? Did I think Millie would sit next to him in the stroller without any of her blood curdling shrieks (whether she was happy or not)? And then, how would I be able to keep Millie busy while I acted as a straight jacket for Noah when it was his turn? Beads of sweat were beginning to form on my brow and I was about 2 mins from throwing a huge, embarassing fit in the waiting room and storming out.

Then... all of a sudden through the door came the most wonderful amazing husband! Daddy to the rescue! He had received my email and aparently didn't want to receive a tear-filled phonecall from me with screaming kids in the background and possibly a message from the dentist's office saying we were no longer welcome back, so he took a break from his super busy day to bail me out. I wouldn't have made it through that appointment without him! He kept both monsters busy while I had my turn (which took about 45mins) and stayed for the beginning of Noah's appointment to make sure all went well. Thanks to him, all went well and Noah was all smiles when we left and LOVES brushing his teeth!!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Creative Chaos

This is the view I have been staring at for the past couple weeks and the reason I have failed to have a decent post lately.
As I have mentioned in previous posts, I design custom invitations and stationery and spring is always a busy time for me as I work on birthday invites, wedding invites and accessories for summer and fall weddings. As much as I love doing this, it leaves little time for little luxuries such as posting updates to my blog. I am currently working on 5 different orders and hope to have a couple of them finished by week's end...maybe one will show up in YOUR mailbox??

I shall return soon enough with updates on the kiddos. They have been as busy as I have!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Put-off by the Post Office

Why do I always seem to have such a hard time making it to the post office? This seems like a simple errand that everyone must do from time to time, but for me, I absolutely DREAD going. My friends never understand why it takes me months to send them a simple gift, return a book, or mail a stationery order, etc. Well, here are just a few of the many reasons I STRONGLY DISLIKE going to the post office:

Maybe it is because in Chicago a post office with a parking lot is rare if one even exsists? This means driving around the block until a meter spot opens, or someone pulls away from the always full curbside parking (loading zone), or parking blocks away and hauling both kids in through the snow, rain, wind, or whatever else Mother Nature is dumping on us that day.

Or maybe it is because the postal workers who work there are so patient, calm and friendly...NOT!

Or because it means I will be chasing Noah down while lugging the 22lb carseat in the crook of my arm and trying balance the stack of 4 packages I need to mail out.

Or because I love spending 30mins of my day waiting in line (I wish I could say 'standing in line' but... see above) no matter what time of day I go!

Or maybe I love to pay WAY too much for packaging tape because I forgot to tape the box before I left the house and of course they won't share theirs, and this is the second time I have had to buy it because I thought I would out smart them by keeping a roll in the car, but whoops...I drove a different car that day!

Now I realize some of these issues are self-inflicted, but for once, it would be nice to have a peaceful, quick, positive experience. I think the only way that would happen is if someone built a drive-thru post office...hmm...not a bad idea. If you see a 'Mailing Mama' open up in a city near you just remember you heard it here first!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Warm weather means...

...naked baby legs and bare piggy toes! I LOVE 'em!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Tree Update - Spring has Sprung!

I'm not sure if you can tell from this picture, but there are finally tiny leaf sprouts on the tree out front. Yes! It is quite a welcome change from the blanket of snow that covered it just a few weeks ago! Bring on Spring!!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The world is not my trash can.

Since tomorrow is Earth Day, I thought I would post a couple things I do to help make the world a cleaner place...

I haven't always made a focused effort to take care of the environment like I probably should, but in the past 6 months or so I have tried to get a little better at the 3R's - Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

I have trouble with the last R - Recycle (see below), so I try to make it up by focusing more on the other two.

I bought these great reusable bags that I LOVE. I use them instead of getting plastic grocery or shopping bags everywhere I go. In the past two days I have saved 6 shopping bags by using my cute reusable bag instead. I do have one exception to this rule so far - I still get bags from Target, but my reason for that is because I REUSE them to put stinky diapers in...instead of using a Diaper Genie and in my opinion Target has the best plastic bags.

I have also worked on reducing the amount of paper towels I use. I admit, it is sooo much easier to grab one, use it once for just a little drip and toss it out only to grab another one to use for something else. In order to realize that there are other ways to clean up spills, wipe messy faces, clean the mirrors, dry your hands, etc I decided this would be a good thing for a PTA (paper towel abuser) to give up for lent. Yes, I am proud to say I made (6.5 weeks?) paper towel free! It wasn't easy...especially on day 1 when Bowman decided to heave-ho in the kitchen - it would have been MUCH easier to clean it up with a huge wad of paper towels as I usually do, and it was very tempting, but I did not.

For some reason I have a recent sense of guilt when I throw plastic containers out with the trash. I have been trying to come up with ways of reusing them instead. These are just a few of many plastic items I reuse.

I love the plastic coffee creamer containers (the liquid kind). I use it as a plastic bag holder for the car. It fits perfectly in the cup holder in the backseat and makes it easier to grab a bag to collect any garbage that might get left in the car (I guess this is another reason I keep the bags from Target). I also figured out a way to inter-connect the handles when putting the bags in the container so the next bag comes out just a little to make it easy to pull out). You could also use it to make salad dressing has a nice pour spout and you can stick any unused dressing back in the fridge.

Another favorite that you will find all over my house are plastic takeout containers. They are great for storing small things like crayons, office supplies, items collected on nature hikes...the options are really limitless here!
Here is why Recycling is a little tough for us.
Our dumpster is fenced in and unfortunately there isn't room for another container. The only option would be to separate and collect it myself and drop it off at our closest recycling center. Maybe I will make this a goal for the future, but right now, I have a hard enough time getting to the grocery store, post office (future post to come on this one!), Target, etc. I can just see myself collecting items to recycle and having good intentions of dropping it off, but running out of time because someone had a meltdown and then leaving a container of stinky trash in the back of the car. I can hear Jon now lecturing me now...ooops! :o )

So there you have it. The few things I do to try to make the earth a little cleaner for us all to live. What are the little things you do on a day to day basis to help out?