Sunday, November 30, 2008

Downtown Chicago with the Reeves

This is posted a little out of order, but last Wednesday I took the Reeves (Ben's sister and family) on the el train and into downtown Chicago. Ben had to work, so it was Heather, Rob, and me with the five kids. We got all kinds of funny comments when we would walk into a store - you really don't see many families walking around with that many kids ages 8 and under in Chicago.

We went up to the top floor of the Hancock Building and saw the great views, then spent lots of time at the American Girl store. The girls had such a fabulous time seeing the dolls and getting the whole experience there. It was pretty crowded and I feel bad because I didn't take a picture! Oh well. We stopped in a few other stores along Michigan Avenue, including the Disney store - here is Eli playing with a soccer ball and a huge Bolt stuffed animal. He would carry Bolt around, talking to him and showing him other toys. It was pretty funny.

We also spent a good chunk of time at the Lego store - it has all kinds of cool displays made out of Legos, like this huge spider:

And this giraffe (here's Rob holding Hannah in front of the store):
Here's Eli in front of Santa and a lego display (he loves saying "Santa!")
Here we are with R2D2 made out of legos:
Abbie and Emma in front of a Lego version of the Hancock Building:
Hannah, Emma, and Eli playing at one of the lego tables - they had so much fun playing with these:
Outside the store, the Reeves family posing with the lego man:
Me and Eli with lego man:
Later we walked down to Millenium Park and saw the "Bean" - Abbie and Emma had fun running under it:
Eli watching the people ice skating at Millenium Park:
Me and Eli in front of the Bean:
We were gone the entire day, and finally made it home a little before 6 p.m. I was SO tired and the kids were cold, but all in all it was a fun day in the city. I will say, it's stressful keeping track of that many little kids in the crowded downtown area! They were all really good though and it was fun to show them some of the sights. I even ran into a few people that I knew at some of the stores, which was pretty random in such a big city!

Today was low-key... we went to church in the morning, had a big lunch when we came home, then Eli and I took naps while Ben and the Reeves drove out to see the temple. There was some difficulty because Ben forgot his keys and I had locked the doors after they left. When they came home, rang the doorbell and tried calling the phone, I was so sound asleep that I heard none of it!! (and amazingly it didn't wake up Eli either) The phone was turned off upstairs and I had my bedroom door closed, but I can't believe I didn't hear the doorbell ringing. They ended up going over to Northwestern's campus so the girls could use the bathroom and to see Ben's old building, where they tried calling again - this time, I woke up to the very soft sound of the phone ringing downstairs and checked the voice mail.

Tonight after we put the younger kids to bed, we hung out in my craft room in the basement (more like a craft cave - it's pretty small, but I have space for two tables and lots of shelves filled with paper/cardmaking supplies - I love this room!!). Abbie and Emma had a blast using my paper punches and other tools to make pictures, cards, hats, etc. They are the sweetest kids and both made me the nicest cards today. It's a treat to get to spend time with them!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Museum of Science & Industry

We skipped Black Friday shopping today and went to Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry instead. Here's Eli with his cousins Hannah, Emma, and Abbie.

He loves playing with his cousin Hannah, who is 2 years old.

Checking out the U-505 Sub exhibit (that was Rob's favorite)
Ben and Eli peeking through a simulated sub window (the sub in the above picture is real though)
Abbie and Emma practicing driving a sub
Can you tell we spent a lot of time at the sub exhibit? Eli had fun.
Me and Eli taking a rest while the others were still reading about the sub.
Eli loved exhibits with phones...
I realized when I got home that I ran out of steam for taking pictures after the sub exhibit. But we saw a beautiful Christmas tree display with 50 trees decorated with ornaments from various countries around the world, a cool train exhibit, a baby chicks exhibit, a fairy castle, etc. Ben, Eli and I were done after 4 1/2 hours at the museum and headed home, but the Reeves family stayed almost until closing time! They have impressive stamina :)

Thanksgiving Day

Thanksgiving morning - coloring with Grandpa

This was the first time Eli used markers. Luckily they were washable because he had marker all over his hands.

Davey (Uncle Munkle) looking stuff up online... he's always looking for a play or concert to go to
Eli's Thanksgiving day haircut - his hair was pretty shaggy!
Even with the lollipop bribe, Eli wasn't loving the haircut, as usual
Later, some of us went to the park on the lakefront while the food was still cooking. Here's Abbie and Hannah on the playground:
Heather and Isaac
Abbie with crazy hair after going down the slide:
Emma right side up:
Emma upside down:
Davey pushing Isaac in the swing:
Hannah flying high in her swing:
Davey, my dad, Emma, Abbie, Hannah, Ben, Rob, Heather, Isaac freezing at the lake:
Later, Ben carving the 22-lb turkey - it was delish!
Eli with my mom and Gram:
At the beginning of dinner, taken w/out the flash:
A little later, with the flash:
My dad gave Eli a spoonful of whip cream - he LOVED it...
After stuffing ourselves with way too much food, we headed over to the bowling alley. A family in our ward rented the space for the night and lots of families came - it was so fun! Eli had a blast dancing to the music (I wish I had a video because he had some serious dance moves :) I got lots of bowling ball comments (in reference to my huge belly) and did my best to bowl, but it wasn't so easy being this pregnant.
Eli with my mom, hanging out while people were bowling:

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Happy Birthday

I turned 28 today. Whoo hoo! Here are some things that have made today/my birthday special:

1. My parents came over yesterday to help me get ready for this busy week. We have Ben's sister Heather, her husband Rob, and their four cute kids flying in tonight and I had lots to do! My mom ran errands with me and Eli while my dad was at our place working remotely on his laptop during the day, and they both helped in the evening too to get our house clean. My mom even made my favorite chocolate chip cookies. AND she drove to a very far Baskin Robbins location to get my favorite ice cream turtle pie for my birthday. I scored one of my mom's beautiful handmade aprons as an early birthday present and some money to go toward our couch fund - so nice!

2. I opened my birthday gift from Aunt Babz - it is the cutest frog wallet I have EVER seen. And probably the cutest wallet I have ever owned. Thank you!!

3. It's a beautiful (but cold), sunny day with bright blue skies. I had breakfast this morning at Walker Brother's with some wonderful friends. The potato pancakes were delicious and it was so fun to get together. I even got applesauce in my hair a few times, courtesy of myself or Eli, I'm not sure which one.
4. After two days of not napping again, Eli took the world's longest nap today!! I put him down at 11:30 (earlier than usual) since he seemed really tired at breakfast. He slept for almost 4 hours! I had the most relaxing time, catching up on blogs, reading magazines that I've fallen behind on, and enjoying a quiet house. Here are some pictures after his nap:

5. Tuesday is trash day, and we have three different trucks come through our alley - one picks up trash, another picks up recycling, and another picks up yard waste. The recycling guys found an envelope with a check inside and actually returned it to me! I had the envelope sticking out of the mailbox and it must have flown out - they found it in the alley and rang my doorbell. I called our city's Streets and Sanitation and told the supervisor how wonderful these guys were.

6. I've had fun phone calls, voice mails, blog messages and facebook comments with happy birthday wishes - thank you :) And last night Eli was so cute, singing parts of Happy Birthday to me - it totally made my night. I captured a tiny bit of it on video:

Sunday, November 23, 2008

31 Weeks and Growing

Today I'm 31 weeks pregnant. Crazy. I think the last few weeks are going to fly by. Are we ready for this baby?? Not exactly... we still don't have a great list of names, I haven't organized the baby clothes or bought diapers, and sometimes I wake up in the night panicking about what if the baby comes early and we're not ready! Hopefully we'll get our act together soon.

I can't decide if I hate these pictures or if I just need to accept that my belly is going to be even bigger in a few more weeks and I should just enjoy not being about-to-deliver huge yet. I'm thankful to be healthy again.

Today was Eli's first day in the church nursery now that he's officially 18 months old. I was SO worried he was going to freak out if we tried to leave, but after the first 10-15 minutes, Ben and I felt like we should go since he was doing so well and didn't seem to need us - he was playing so happily and I couldn't have asked for a more wonderful experience for his first day - the nursery workers were all SO nice to him and it was a calm, comfortable place to be.

Eli seemed totally wiped out after church, but then he came home, ate lunch, and played in his crib instead of napping. Crazy child.

Tonight we had dinner at our next door neighbor's house - their kids were hilarious with Eli - very much in his face (in a very friendly way), which is hard for him since he really needs his personal space. But he warmed up by the end and had fun. They sent us home with cute maternity clothes and some Thomas trains and track to borrow because he was having so much fun with them! Seriously, I can't get over how nice they are - we feel very lucky to have welcoming and kind neighbors.