Thursday, June 24, 2010

Funny Brothers

I took this video last night when the boys were hyper (but supposed to be winding down for bedtime). Eli is in this puppy faze where he loves to talk like a dog, and Charlie loves to mess with Eli. This video makes me laugh every time I see it (the best part is Charlie banging on Eli’s bum and Eli is totally oblivious until the end).

Eli the Puppy, Charlie Messing with Eli from Sarah on Vimeo.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Impromptu Beach Evening

Today I focused on getting things done around the house – washing sheets, cleaning rooms, wrestling and playing with the boys, refereeing the boys, etc. and by the late afternoon, I was feeling a little restless from being cooped up all day. My friend Khania called on her way home from work and we decided to meet at the beach for a little bit before dinnertime. I’m always extra happy to meet friends at the beach rather than go by myself with the kids. I threw the kids in the bike trailer and we rode over to the beach. There is a hill that I have to climb on my way to the beach that really kills me when I’m towing my boys behind me and I’m feeling the burn in my legs tonight as I’m writing this. (I should do that ride every day!!)

When I got to the beach around 4:30, the clouds and light were so pretty. I was kicking myself for not bringing my camera, so I borrowed Khania’s car, ran home really quick and brought it back to the beach. Here are some shots from tonight -

Evelyn and Eli running through the water:

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Evelyn was giving me some great faces today :)

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Eli was all about going into the water, putting his face in, and proudly showing us that he was doing so.

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Charlie was running in and out of the water too:

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Grant was out of the water for the most part, constructing an elaborate sand castle colony:

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I brought Eli and Charlie’s bath robes instead of towels because they stay on so much easier (I realize it looks a little funny, but I don’t care!):

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Pretty girl:

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I have no idea why my 3-year-old was chewing on his robe:

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Charlie scoping out the waves :)

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Evelyn and Khania:

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We saw our friend Izumi there with her cute little boy, whose dad is a certain Olympic gold speed skater from Chicago… I think this little guy has such a beautiful look:


At one point Charlie came charging at me:

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Later all warm and cozy in his bathrobe:

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I really have to laugh every time I look at the height difference between these two – Little E and Tall E.

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Cute friends:

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I feel so behind on blogging, but I’m going to try to keep up with the recent pictures and do some catch up along the way. My computer continues to get slower and slower and it’s driving me crazy. However, my new one is on its way and will be here in a few days!! I can’t wait. This is after ordering two other computers before this one and having both arrive totally dead. My camera was acting funny today and later I checked the shutter actuations – it’s up to 70,320 from the last 3 1/2 years!! Crazy. I think the shutter is starting to wear out, unfortunately. Technology has not been my friend lately!!

Despite all of that, I have lots of great photos to post soon from recent portrait sessions and a few wedding open houses that have kept me busy busy busy. I’ll add them to my photography blog soon. It has been a very full month!

Father’s Day

We had a great Father’s Day – it was a rare day where we got to spend nearly the entire day together. The boys and I brought Ben breakfast in bed and let him sleep in until 8 a.m., which also never happens! I made blueberry pancakes and served them with fruit, hashbrowns, and orange juice. After church, Ben and Charlie took naps and later in the afternoon, we drove up to the Chicago Botanic Gardens for a Father’s Day outing. It was the most beautiful day – not too hot or humid and not rainy. We’ve had a lot of rain lately, so this was a treat!

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Charlie was pretty out of it still after his nap :)

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Eli was the exact opposite, despite not taking a nap. He talked non-stop and had so much fun running around the gardens.

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Eli was so busy observing everything around us that he couldn’t bother with looking at the camera…

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By this point, Charlie had finally woken up more and had a big smile on his face.

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Sweet, sweet boys.

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I’m so lucky to have such great dads in my life! Ben, my dad, and Ben’s dad are all great examples to me. Happy Father’s Day!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Crazy Weather

This afternoon we had some classic Midwestern stormy summer weather – for most of the day, it was 90 degrees and humid. Then around 4 p.m., the sky turned VERY dark, the wind picked up, and the rain came pummeling down.

Ben later joked that it looked like the Second Coming. Or a scene from a movie. Seriously.

There were severe weather warnings, a tornado watch, etc. as well as threats that we could have grapefruit-sized hail and up to 80 m.p.h. winds. We didn’t have the hail here at our house. But the wind was CRAZY. There are tons of branches down in the area.

But the craziest story of the day was from Ben – he was downtown walking to the train late in the afternoon… as he walked past the Willis (formerly known as Sears) Tower, windows blew out from the 25th and 29th stories. Thankfully he was across the street from the skyscraper, so he escaped unharmed from the glass falling onto the street and sidewalk. willis_612

It was eerily similar to when we were visiting Chicago in 2002 and had the crazy experience with scaffolding falling at the Hancock Building and shattering windows while we were inside eating lunch. Tonight there is still a ton of thunder/lightning, but the worst seems to be over.

I’ll post fun pics of the kids soon : ) I’m STILL catching up from the last few weeks!

Picture from the Tribune.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Charlie a.k.a. Curious George

Charlie is our agile little monkey whose curiosity sometimes gets the best of him. He’s a busy little guy who is fully in the curious but clumsy stage as a toddler. Here are some recent examples -

1. Last night we were eating dinner outside in the back yard. Charlie was standing on one of the lighter plastic chairs and somehow rocked the chair to tip it back (but he was facing backwards)… Ben and I were on either side of him and tried to stop the chair, but weren’t able to stop it completely from tipping (we just made it tip less abrasively). Poor Charlie fell face-first onto the brick pavement and ended up with a huge red bump in the middle of his forehead and a cut lip. It would have been much worse if we hadn’t broken the fall a little, but we still felt so sad for him.

2. Earlier today, Ben was outside with the kids. Eli was swinging on the swing set, and Charlie apparently ran up toward Eli without Ben realizing it early enough and Eli inadvertently kicked Charlie right in the chest and sent Charlie flying onto his back in the grass. 

3. Tonight we gave the boys a bath, but pulled Charlie out first because he kept trying to climb on the sloped back wall and was slipping all over the place. I stayed in the bathroom with Eli while he finished his bath… all of the sudden, Charlie came running in, leaned over the tub, and tipped forward all the way into the bath, head first into the water!! He is crazy sometimes. I quickly pulled him back out and Ben had to change his pjs. We couldn’t believe he really dove in like that.

So if you see Charlie in the next couple of days, you may notice quite a few bumps and bruises all over his sweet little face… :) I have pictures from them doing the slip and slide last night, but I also have some editing I need to do from some recent photo shoots. Someday I will catch up!!

Here’s a video of Charlie climbing up the play set ladder (and Eli swinging on the play set frame). You’ll see his fast little run at the end too.

Charlie Climbing Up Ladder (June 2010 - 16 months) from Sarah on Vimeo.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Eli’s 3rd Birthday

I can’t believe I’m blogging this three weeks later, but better late than never. So… I’ll dive right in :) It’s a lot, but I wanted this all down for our memory – feel free to skim!

Eli was thrilled to wake up on his birthday and open some presents before Ben left for work. I was up late the night before, so you can hear my tired voice in this dark video at 6:30 a.m. Here he is opening the scooter that he wanted -

Eli's 3rd Birthday - he gets a scooter from Sarah on Vimeo.

The other big present was a wooden play house (a gender neutral doll house) that I found on craigslist for a really good deal. He loves pretend play and I thought he would have a lot of fun with this. Of course, the balloons were just as exciting (or more so).

Eli's 3rd Birthday - his little play house from Sarah on Vimeo.

That morning he had a special birthday breakfast of… Cocoa Crispies! (gross, right??) He always wants to get chocolate cereal when we’re at the grocery store, but I’ve told him he could have some for his birthday for the last few months now.

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The funny thing is that after a few bites, he said he felt sick and switched to a bowl of Cheerios instead. Hopefully that cured him of his need for chocolate cereal for at least another year.

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After breakfast, he had a call from the Christensens in Denver. Here they are singing to him (Eli was using the potty when the phone rang, so I brought the phone into the bathroom). I love hearing Eli describe his presents to the boys on the phone. He was VERY excited about them.

Eli's 3rd Birthday - talking to Alex and Sam Christensen on the phone from Sarah on Vimeo.

Eli had preschool on his birthday, so I went early and enjoyed the end of snack with the kids when they celebrated his birthday and ate cupcakes.

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Here’s his class singing to him (Eli had a really hard time blowing the candles out for some reason):

Eli loooves chocolate, so I had to bring chocolate cupcakes. He liked them more than the Cocoa Crispies.

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Eli with Nancy, one of his teachers. He loves Nancy and has had a great year! (Rebekeh was out of town, so I didn’t get a picture of her)

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Later, we played outside in the back yard. Here’s Eli showing his rope ladder climbing skills. His climbing has really impressed me lately! It’s fun to see him growing and getting stronger.

In the early afternoon, Eli was tired from the fun morning he’d had. Rebekeh and family called from their vacation in Hawaii to sing a fun Happy Birthday song (that goes to the tune of “If You’re Happy and You Know It”). Eli was a total stinker and not very nice on the phone. Not one of his finer moments, but I tried to keep in mind that he is three after all. I’m including the video so you can hear the cute song! (please ignore his sour response). It didn’t help that I had paused his tv show when they called.. he wasn’t in the mood to be interrupted :)

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Here’s Charlie watching his big brother rule the roost :) Poor Charlie starts running when Eli charges toward him with the intention to ram into him and knock Charlie down. I’ve told Eli 1,000 times not to push his brother down, but he still does it when I’m not looking.

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Eli making a silly face -

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Eli had a fun surprise visit by his favorite babysitter, Grace and her fun sister Maggie. They dropped off a darling present (rocket popsicle molds) and I thought it was so thoughtful and sweet. We’re going to miss Grace when she heads off to college at the end of the summer!!

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Here’s a video of Eli opening a few more presents (I swear my house isn’t usually this messy). He REALLY wanted the game Bingo and I’m not sure that this version was what he had in mind, but that’s okay. I got him a book called, I Love It When You Smile, which fits him really well (sometimes Eli can be such a grump!).

Eli Opening Presents - 3rd Birthday (May 2010) from Sarah on Vimeo.

This last video is for his California grandparents, who made this birthday banner, which Eli pretends is a car wash! They also sent a cool wooden transformer, which he absolutely loves.

Eli's 3rd Birthday - running through the birthday banner/car wash (May 2010) from Sarah on Vimeo.

At age 3, Eli is a storyteller, using lots of vivid details and funny characters. He loves to play tag, race, ride his bike and scooter, play games like Candyland, Zingo, Chutes and Ladders, Go Fish, and Bingo. He’s still doing physical therapy once/week with the fabulous therapist Lisa to work on his gross motor skills, but he’s made great progress in the couple of months that he’s worked with her. He has had preschool twice/week, but school is almost over. This summer we have plans to go to the pool, beach, and parks as often as possible.

Here are some of his current favorites:

Breakfast food: Honey Nut Cheerios

Lunch foods: Turkey, apple slices, yogurt

Dinner food: Tortilla soup

Color: Blue

Stuffed animal: Froggy (but he loves his dolphin and some other stuffed animals too)

Indoor activities: Climbing on the couches (much to my dismay), building with legos, playing with trains or cars, and racing from the front of the house to the back of the house

Outdoor activities: Climbing on the playset, throwing balls around the yard, playing with the sand table and watering the plants.

Times when he tortures Charlie: In the mornings when I’m in the shower – Eli will boss Charlie around, and if words don’t work, he resorts to pushing. It will be interesting to see what happens when Charlie is a little bigger and pushes back. And also in the back yard, like I mentioned earlier.

At night, his favorite routine is: Read one book, say a prayer, read a second book. Climb into bed, then we cover him with his blankie and say, “Snug as a bug, loose as a goose, and now just normal.” In the last month or so, we’ve added new variations, mostly coming from Eli. I’ll say, “Snug as a bug… in a mug.” and he’ll say, “Snug as a bug… in a cozy helicopter.” And then I’ll say, “Loose as a goose… or a moose in a caboose.” And he’ll come up with some other rhyme. I love snuggling with this sweet boy. He is growing right up.

Eli’s 3rd Birthday – A Fishing Party

One of Eli’s favorite things is going fishing, so we thought it would be fitting to have his party be centered around that (I had originally wanted to do a carnival party, but ran out of steam and decided fishing was much easier and perfect for Eli).

We met at the park where we usually take Eli fishing, and on Saturdays the city has free fishing there at the pond – they provide fishing poles, bait, etc. for kids to try some catch and release fishing.

My family came for the party, and we were lucky to have my dad keeping track of Charlie.

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Eli caught a fish with his Superman fishing pole…

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Here are some of his friends from school, Addy and Mia, who also caught a fish -

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Kai with his fish (I love that he was holding it in his hands) -

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My dad and Charlie making funny noises into the balloon -

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I think Evelyn’s face in this one is HILARIOUS – she wanted nothing to do with fishing and watched Joseph  instead.

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Caleb waiting patiently for a fish -

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Eli had fun with the worms (I can’t believe he was really holding one!)

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Eli showing his worm to Sisi -

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Ben helped with the sandwich prep, cutting out the fish with a cookie cutter :)

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Gram felt terrible that day after the first weeks of chemo/radiation, so she stayed in the car for the fishing part of the party and came out for the lunch portion. She and Charlie had fun sitting next to each other, and he let her feed him little goldfish and grapes.

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Eli with one of his BFFs, Evelyn, who is six months older and probably six inches taller :)

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I slaved away on these Martha Stewart cupcakes made from scratch. After two batches of these multi-step, complicated cupcakes, I decided they probably weren’t worth it, even if they tasted good. I added a Swedish fish for some more fishy flair.


I do think the kids liked the cupcakes, so that made up for the fact that they were so time intensive.

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See? I told you Evelyn is six inches taller. Maybe even more… :)

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The whole group, except Evelyn must have already left by this point -

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Eli giving Gram a kiss on the cheek… he loves her so much.

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Eli was very territorial over the presents… he got some really fun things!

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I love that Charlie was licking the balloon string in this family shot -

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Later he found a mud puddle and went to town, splashing and getting sopping wet but having so much fun.

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Later, opening presents in our messy family room… Eli got a new stuffed puppy from Davey, who also gave Charlie a stuffed animal (a cougar) so he wouldn’t feel left out. Davey is always a thoughtful gift giver.

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My parents got this tractor for Eli – it’s pretty funny!

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Eli has enjoyed riding on it around the yard.

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AND… the moment you’ve all been waiting for (if you’ve made it this long in the post). The winner of the CSN Giveaway is…


#7 – Kelly D!!

Congratulations Kelly!

I called Kelly tonight to share the fun news, and she said she was glad to have something good happen this week. One of her four daughters is having her tonsils out tomorrow (Chloe), so this adds a bright spot to what will be a hard week for her and poor Chloe.