Sunday, March 27, 2011


We just finished a session of gymnastics classes for both boys this last week. It was nice for Eli to transition for physical therapy once/week to another activity that is active and uses muscles he doesn't normally use at home. He was in the 3-year-old class and Charlie was in the Mom/Tot class, which meant I get to follow Charlie around the gym while he played. I think I'll wait to sign the boys up for gymnastics again until next winter when Charlie is 3 and Eli is 4 so I can enjoy watching their classes through the glass window :) It would have been more fun if we had signed up with someone else who had a child in the mom/tot class... the other moms in there were nice but not super friendly. Most of them knew at least one other person there already. 

When I was a nanny back in the day, I used to take Drew and Caroline here for gymnastics classes years ago and they had the same teachers back then (Drew is turning nine at the end of this year - I was with them from the time he was a newborn until I had Eli)

Most of the teachers did a double take when I walked in with my own kids on the first week because they recognized me from before, which was kind of fun. They are great teachers, kind of no-nonsense but not too harsh - just enough to get them to stay on task and work hard (especially for Eli). Charlie's class is more free-form and the kids can wander around and play on whatever equipment is out there. 

Charlie tends to be a quiet observer in places like this though, so there were lots of moments where he would just stand there, staring at the other kids climbing or running around. He also loved seeing Eli and would run over to Eli's class and try to join in with him. 
Also, note to self - we were signed up for the 9:15-10 a.m. class... we were late EVERY single week. It was pathetic. There was always some reason (usually Eli taking forever to go to the bathroom or put his shoes on or we would all sleep late and then rush to get there), but I just need to be realistic and not sign us up for a class that is 10 minutes away at 9:15 a.m. 

We're just not that fast that early in the morning. (I know, it's really not that early... but it is at this stage when my kids don't have to get to school super early)

Remembering that it was Warmer this Month...

We're having an unseasonably cold end of March. (Are you tired of me complaining about the weather?? When you live in Chicago, that's just what we do at this time of year! It's in the 30s and we may have snow this week... boooooo) Here are some pictures from St. Patrick's Day when it actually broke 50 degrees that day and we weren't bundled up in coats outside.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Pretty Baby

To Spring:

It's the end of March. 30-degree temps, really?? I miss you sun. It's cold and damp here and we're all sick of it. The ground is a soggy, soggy mess, which equals dirty shoes when the kids sprint from the garage to the house by roundabout way of the yard. We're ready to play outside, but not when we're sinking deep into the mud.

And something happier to end on - baby Lydia, pictures taken at one week old. Isn't she so sweet?? I love her dark hair with light highlights.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tube Down my Throat, Chartie, Super Dog, and Other Bits from the Week

I'm going to start with today and go backwards over the last week or so. Pictures will come soon.

Today I had an appointment with an ENT (ear nose throat doctor). I brought my kids along because I knew the appointment wouldn't be very long, and to my great relief, they were really well behaved and watched Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on my iPod while sitting together on one chair. I've had a feeling that I needed to see an ENT for a while now, but I put it off because I was worried it would be uncomfortable or invasive.

Well... it was! But I survived and it really wasn't that big of a deal. The doctor's assistant threaded a small tube with a camera up through one side of my nose and down my throat to get a good look at my throat. It was very uncomfortable and a tiny bit painful, but it didn't last very long, which was the upside. The doctor kept telling me to breathe through my mouth. And at one point I had to say, "Eeeeee" so they could see how my throat looked when I talked - try doing that with a tube in your throat!! Sure enough, it's red and inflamed and my symptoms point to acid reflux. I'll go on prevacid and also do a nasal steroid spray. Doesn't this all sound fun?? :) The biggest bummer is that the caffeine in chocolate is an acid reflux trigger, so I'm supposed to go easy on the chocolate. Which is great for my health, but sad for me! I'm also not supposed to eat late at night, which shouldn't be a big deal.

The boys have been so funny lately. Eli started calling Charlie, "Chart" or "Chartie" and we think it's a really cute nickname. They are still very up and down with how they play with each other and interact, but there are definitely lots of sweet moments when Eli isn't screaming at Charlie for taking his toys or knocking down his towers. :) I love hearing them laugh and be crazy together.

Eli is fully immersed in being creative and imaginative, and often has a running dialogue or story about how whatever we're doing relates to Super Dog and his adventures. We were in Costco this morning and Eli talked the entire time. No joke. Super Dog was mentioned throughout the shopping trip. "Super Dog loves granola bar samples and uses them for energy to fly and save people." "Super Dog was fighting Bad Dog and..."

Charlie is very specific about which parent he prefers, but it depends on whether it's a weekday or weekend. I am the weekday parent and Charlie will glare at Ben if he tries to help get him out of his seat at dinner or basically do anything for him. Charlie gets excited when Ben comes home from work, but really prefers me to help him or read stories or whatever. But on the weekends when Ben is around more, it totally switches and Ben is the preferred parent. It's really funny to watch him do this throughout the week.

Charlie is also very into reading books right now and prefers to do this while snuggled up in my lap. He is the coziest little child and backs right up into my lap and sits down with a book in his hand. There are times of the day where we will sit together and read book after book after book. Eli recently checked a book out from the library called, "Snow Dude" and both kids really love it for some reason. I am getting a little tired of reading Snow Dude. :)

It's been about a full year since we first started potty training Eli. This process has been pretty frustrating and while Eli is doing pretty well now, he still has an accident a few times a week and it drives me and Ben crazy. He has all sorts of incentives for staying dry (his current fave is that he gets to play a few rounds of Angry Birds when Ben comes home if he stays dry in the day). But he still has plenty of times when he just doesn't go to the bathroom on time and pees in his pants.

My Gram turns 86 on Wednesday and we had a birthday lunch for her at our place over the weekend. I am so proud of her for reaching this birthday and for being cancer-free. She is a remarkable woman and my boys love her so so much.

I had a newborn photo shoot and a wedding session about a week ago - hence why none of my personal pictures are loaded onto my computer yet! I'm still editing pics from those sessions and will be caught up soon. Life is flying by and I'm constantly working to have a balance with spending time with Ben and the kids and making time for my business.  It's all a lot of fun and I'm enjoying the process!

Finally... here's a video, "Teach Me How to Jimmer" that Ben showed the kids over the weekend and they love the "Teach me how to Jimmer" voice. It's funny hearing Eli and Charlie talk about Jimmer, their favorite basketball guy. Way to go BYU basketball!!!! Jimmer Fredette really is amazing as is the whole team. We have some friends who just booked flights and got tickets to go to the game in New Orleans this Thursday. Ben was tempted, but isn't going down with them. We'll be rooting for the team here in Chicago!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Early St. Patrick's Day

On Saturday we went downtown with friends to see Chicago's St. Patrick's Day festivities. It had been five years since Ben and I went down (pre-Eli) to see the river turn neon green, and our kids are at decent ages now to attempt the crowds with them. We decked them out in green and tagged along with John and Krista and their kids. John's brother lives near Millenium Park with a great view of the river and Lake Michigan, so we were lucky enough to go hang out at his place for the first little while. 

Seriously, watching the river turn green, 30 floors high in the sky in a warm, comfortable place beats standing at the freezing, windy bridge any day. Our kids were spoiled and loved looking out the floor-length windows with their friends.

The river starting to turn...
That was interesting for little bits of time, so the boys entertained themselves with other things around Bobby's place. They loved these glass miniature chess pieces and board.

Charlie loves the LeBarons, if you can't tell... :)

Eli was having time with Ben...

After a while, we ventured outside and braved the bitter wind and cold to see some of the parade. Our kids were happy for about 15 minutes maybe??

Maybe not even that long. Here's Eli's grumpy face :)

Back to happy.

Eli got upset when his green hat kept flying off. We chased it a few times and he finally resorted to just holding it because the wind was too fierce.

Now this guy. What even to say about him?? Other than that he called himself St. Patrick and was HILARIOUS. And friendly. 

Those last pictures of the river are courtesy of Krista. My kids were melting fast and we had to get out of there before they totally fell apart, so I didn't get close-up shots of the river, but I loved these that she took. It was a fun morning with lots of great people watching. The masses of people who are already drinking by 10 a.m. is pretty crazy. And the outfits, the green hair, the accessories... always over the top but lots of fun. It was a great morning. But SPRING - where the heck are you??? We're cold over here. The highlight of this upcoming week's forecast is it's supposed to hit 60 on Thursday. Whoo hoo!

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Snowy Start to March

It snowed all day today--light fluffy flakes that started to accumulate by the afternoon (Spring in Chicago is always so cruel!! We get fluke warm days and then it snows again).

It's Stake Conference this weekend and Ben was gone at a meeting from 4-6 p.m. The kids and I spent the time coloring on huge pieces of paper, made forts, and set up blockades around the main floor of the house (blockades were not my idea, I was going with Eli's plans).

Eli and Charlie were so cute playing together--it makes a huge difference if I'm playing right there with them (compared to when I'm trying to make dinner or something and expecting/willing them to play peacefully together :). I love those moments when you can just play and be crazy with your favorite little guys.

Ben came home and I went to the adult session tonight. The main roads weren't too bad from the snow, but when I went up and over the train tracks (a tiny hill) and realized my car was not stopping like I thought it would because the road was so slick and I was sliding downhill. 

There was a split second where I panicked because I saw cars coming and I wasn't sure my car would stop in time. I slammed hard on the brakes (ABS kicked in thank goodness) and turned the wheel slightly. The car skidded but didn't slide into the main street as cars zoomed by. I was still shaking by the time I got to church. Who's ready for summer????

On a different note, I really liked this column in the Chicago Tribune on BYU's principles related to the suspension of Brandon Davies. It's quite the contrast from the news this week of a Northwestern professor allowing a sex toy demonstration to his students after class. Seriously Northwestern???

Friday, March 04, 2011

Rising Earlier and Other Random Thoughts

Some thoughts from the week...

Charlie has been full of attitude this week and is back to waking up at 7 or 7:15 a.m. I know, I can't complain because LOTS of babies and toddlers wake up at a dreadful hour before that time (Eli and Charlie did for a long time). I'm blaming it on the fact that the sun has actually appeared early in the morning (rather than hiding behind our usual winter clouds). I need to adjust my sleeping habits so I'm more coherent when I get up with the dear child at 7 a.m. But I love nighttime so's hard to change.

Lately when Charlie wakes up in the morning or from a nap, he is quite grouchy and pretty strong-willed. It takes forever to get him to let me pull him out of his crib without major fits, but he's not happy if I walk out of his room either. This afternoon it took a full hour of me and Eli hanging out upstairs, in and out of Charlie's room, before Charlie would somewhat happily come out of his crib. In that hour, he would roll around in his crib, squeeze his blankie and suck his thumb, and made a grumpy noise at me if I made eye contact and smiled. Oh that child.

The only chance I have of getting Charlie dressed in the morning before we head downstairs is if I relinquish control in what he wears - he doesn't like swishy athletic pants or wearing multiple layers and prefers to wear his Spiderman shirt when it's clean and in his drawer. I usually ask him to go pick out a diaper and he stands there for a minute, deliberating in his head about which diaper to choose (they're all the same :). Charlie is also fighting me pretty much every time I try to buckle him into his car seat. I try to get him to help me do the buckles (when he's lurching out of it and going ballistic for no obvious reason), but that doesn't work all the time.

This makes me nervous about an upcoming 12-hour road trip that I'm taking with a friend and our kids... we'll see how it goes. There is also a chance Ben and I and the kids may drive out west this summer to meet up with Ben's family for a reunion, but it would be a long, long drive (like 25+ hours each way). Flights are crazy expensive, which is fueling this new driving plan... oh what to do??

Tonight I made Chinese chicken salad for dinner. Charlie put a piece of purple cabbage in his mouth and it almost immediately popped right back out. "I don't like it, give it to Eli?" he said firmly.

Eli is actually getting better about eating different foods (finally!) and bounces back and forth between wanting to help Charlie be happy and crying about every little thing that Charlie does to drive Eli crazy :) Eli is super loving and sweet with me and Ben and gives me hugs constantly. I absolutely love his hugs, his high fives with a thumbs up at the end, and his high five, dolphin dive.

Eli talks constantly these days and is full of stories and games and creations. I constantly find him balancing one of his army guys in some precarious place around the house. Tonight Eli told us his friend Jane said her dad went on a rocket ship to outer space but is home now (to my knowledge, her dad hasn't been to outer space). Eli loves his gymnastics class and is very into showing me "tricks" that usually involve attempting a handstand or moving in some funny way. He has a hard time sitting still at the kitchen table and loves to hop off of his chair and do a trick in between bites. We're working on keeping him at the table until he's actually done eating...

If you need a good cry, visit this blog of a friend of a photography friend whose husband passed away from cancer a few weeks ago - It gets harder to read the more you scroll down, believe me.

If you need a good laugh, check out the blog, You Are Not a Photographer. This post is my FAVORITE!! Hilarious and I love the commentary.

There is a box elder bug flying around me because I'm sitting near a lamp and it's dark in the rest of the house. I know spring is almost here when bugs reappear!!! (Okay, maybe not for another month but I can wish, right?? :) Too bad it's still pretty cold outside. Melt snow, melt!! It's almost gone.

And to add to our home repairs this month... the dryer door latch broke today. Luckily it's a really inexpensive part to replace, but in the meantime I have two wet loads of laundry. So fun.

Enough rambling and I'm off to bed :)

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Retrieving My Wallet

Yesterday I was going through my purse and realized my wallet was gone. My heart dropped and my mind scrambled to remember where I had seen it last. I ran out and checked the car, but found nothing. I had lunch at Portillo's with a friend earlier in the day, so I called the restaurant and sure enough, someone had turned in my wallet!

I was so, so grateful and raced to Portillo's to pick up my wallet before anything happened to it. Much to my surprise, the manager said he had one question for me.

"What church do you belong to?"

At first I looked at him blankly, wondering why in the world he was asking me about my church of all things. Not asking my address, or about what cards might be in my wallet to prove it was mine.

But I realized he must have really gone through my wallet, because my temple recommend card with the church's name is tucked behind my driver's license. 

"The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints," I said. 

The manager smiled and handed me the wallet. 

Note to self - put my phone number inside my wallet in case I lose it again...

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Charlie the Dinosaur

Charlie has been roaring like a dinosaur a lot lately, and of course right before I grabbed my camera, he was roaring super loud in a really funny way (Eli was behind the door reacting to the roaring in his super strong way - their interactions are always full of emotion, happy or grumpy...).

But once I was pointing the camera at Charlie, he toned down his roar quite a bit. The roaring drives Eli crazy, who at this point was finishing up in the bathroom. I think the video epitomizes Charlie's little 2-year-old attitude ("I'm not," he says very succinctly at the beginning after the first roar - later he asks, "What are you doing, Eli?"). Ben likes to call him Charliesoar.

Charlie Roaring Like a Dinosaur (March 2011) from Sarah on Vimeo.

Tonight we were out running some errands before bedtime, and the kids were taking turns playing Angry Birds on Ben's phone. Charlie kept saying, "I want the iPhone - angry birds" when it wasn't his turn. I love hearing Charlie put sentences together and communicate what he wants, even if it's to play a silly iPhone game.