Sunday, March 25, 2012

Life Outdoors

We really tried to play outside as much as possible when it was extra warm over the last few weeks. I don't think we had the tv on for an entire week because we were so busy going to parks, the beach, or just hanging out in the back yard, trying to soak up as much sunshine as we could. 

Here are a few shots from last weekend when the boys put their swimsuits on and played on the swing set and in the mud in the very back part of the yard. Toward the end, Eli kept wanting me to chase him, so I obliged :)
 Charlie needs more meat on his bones!! 

Love these kiddos!

Sweet Charlie has strep throat, so we're stuck at home today (he's had a fever and bad cough for a few days and at least is now on an antibiotic, so things should improve soon. Hopefully!) We're going a little stir crazy... so I'm going to try to catch up on blogging!)

Friday, March 23, 2012

Happy Birthday to Sweet Gram (87 Years!!)

Gram turned 87 years old today!! We celebrated early at my parents' house last weekend because she was flying to California the day before her birthday to spend a few weeks visiting her sister and some friends. She showed up to our dinner in a pretty fabulous outfit :) I love her.
Eli is OBSESSED with anything related to Angry Birds and was excited to show his Great Gram the Chinese dragon and birds that he drew and cut out. He has a whole set of birds, pigs, the dragon, etc. and game boards that he's made too. It's pretty cute. He's also put lego sets together that he says are Angry Birds pieces, and when he's building with blocks, there is usually some Angry Birds connection. He doesn't even get to play the game very much, but this week Angry Birds Space came out and he was extremely excited. 

Okay back to the fabulous Gram :)
Charlie ran up and gave Gram a big hug :)
 She brought these little water toys for the boys and they love them. This turtle and duck are regulars in their baths, which have been quite frequent since we've been playing outside so much this week.
 I'm in the awkward stage where I feel chubby but don't look super pregnant. Just like I've gained five pounds. (because I have! thank you third baby)
 But I'm still posting these pics with my Gram despite my dislike for how I look because I think she looks wonderful. I hope I look this great at 87!
 My poor mom was being pulled in fifty directions inside while getting dinner finished up, but we got her to come outside and take a picture too. 
 Here's my mom again, back in their newly remodeled kitchen! It's beautiful and so open and airy. Not to mention 500x more counter space than they had before.

In the dining room/office area, about to eat.

  After dinner, we celebrated more with cake and ice cream. 

Happy birthday dear Gram! We love you to bits and bits and will miss you while you're out of town! Hope today was a fabulous, sunny California day.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Beach Days in March

I am still amazed that we spent multiple days at the beach in March. In Chicago. We have had the most glorious, beautiful warm weather over the last few weeks (which abruptly just ended and we're back to normal springtime weather - rain and cooler temps).
 We tried to live it up as much as possible and enjoyed playing by the lake. This particular day, there wasn't any parking at my favorite beach, so we headed to the next beach south. I wasn't as much a fan of this one because it was full of college students. Some smoking college students. (You are smart enough to get into Northwestern, but you smoke cigarettes?? I don't understand). There's nothing like enjoying time at the beach while someone is nearby smoking away.
Eli definitely noticed that we didn't go to our usual place, but he soon forgot about that and got to work making little pools near the edge of the water. 
Charlie had fun with this squirt gun.
The boys didn't go in the water as much this day, but the following week, Eli was running in and out of Lake Michigan like it was no big deal. 

(But the water really was freezing!!!)
It's really nice to be spoiled with great weather, especially when we're least expecting it. I didn't even mind today's cooler, damp air and pouring rain. :) Our warm weather this month beat all kinds of records. Eighty-five degrees in March is unheard of. I even turned the a/c on one night because the heat and humidity was making me nauseous. Everything is blooming around us and the kids are having fun spotting all of the popcorn trees everywhere :) Hooray for spring!!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Why I'm Obsessed with Churros and Chocolate

Disclaimer - this is really long winded.

Two weeks ago, my friend Bethany mentioned she recently had dinner at Rick Bayless' sandwich shop/restaurant, Xoco.  I asked her if she had the churros for dessert, and when she said no, I almost fell over. (how can you go to Xoco and NOT get the churros?? :)

I'm a little obsessed with these treats. Xoco has churros with a side chocolate ganache dipping sauce (and the homemade Mexican vanilla ice cream too!!) and it is to die for. Not kidding. Sooooo good. About 100 times better than the Costco churros and always freshly made to order.

A few nights after my friend ate at Xoco, Ben had a work dinner downtown and realized afterward as he was running to catch a late train that he had only been a block away from Xoco. I was NOT pleased that he didn't stop and pick up some churros for me when he knew I had been craving those delicious churros. :)

So what did I do? The next day was Friday. I woke up still wishing for churros. We were flying out of town the day after (Saturday morning) and I had plenty still to do before leaving on our trip, but that wasn't important. I also didn't care that it was lightly snowing/hailing/gross weather outside. I picked the boys up from preschool in the afternoon and decided to hop on I-94 and drive into Chicago to get some churros and chocolate.

Keep in mind this was 3 p.m. on a Friday afternoon. Chicago has notoriously bad rush hour traffic, especially on a Friday. I didn't care. We were going to get churros, no matter how painful. 

Luckily there was a DVD in the DVD player that kept the boys entertained for the 50 minutes that it took to get downtown in heavy traffic. I managed to find metered street parking, dragged the kids out of the car into the snow/rain/hail and walked a few blocks to the restaurant. There wasn't a single person in line (probably because the weather was so yucky outside and it wasn't really dinnertime yet), so I went right up and placed my order for churros, chocolate and ice cream. I got a sandwich too, because I figured, why not?? :)

The boys wouldn't touch the churros (more for me!), but downed the ice cream in about two seconds. I sat there and happily ate more than my share of churros, dipped in chocolate ganache. Then I hurried up and scarfed down my sandwich, raced back to the car with the boys, picked Ben up from work and we sat in more yucky rush hour traffic on the way home (this time it took more than an hour). 

But I was SO content and happy, because when you are pregnant and queasy almost all the time and something actually sounds good to eat, you have to enjoy that moment. :)

I am so happy to announce that I am 13 weeks pregnant, due mid-September, about a week after Eli starts kindergarten (yikes). It was a long road, took nearly a year to conceive again after the miscarriage, and was a result of a second HSG procedure and taking clomid for three months (my reaction to clomid means crazy hot flashes, gaining a few pounds and silly mood swings). I'm shamefully grateful we didn't get pregnant with twins while on clomid, it's just one baby. There is absolutely nothing wrong with having twins!! But the idea made me really nervous and there was a slightly elevated chance of having multiples while on that drug.

I've been to the doctor at least five or six times already because I have the most fabulous OB in the world, who is caring and has been closely monitoring this pregnancy from the beginning. I've had blood work, multiple ultrasounds, and everything has been very positive. I took my boys with me to every appointment, but the iPad was a great distraction (even during the ultrasounds!!) and they had absolutely no idea until we told them last weekend when we were in the car in California driving to see some redwoods.

Eli's reaction was, "OH I am SO HAPPY!!!!" and he started cheering and saying, "I'm going to be a big BIG brother!!"

Charlie's reaction was, "YEAH!!!! I am going to be a BIG brother!" with a fist pump. I love his fist pumps.

It was the cutest thing ever. They are so sweet and really excited. Eli thinks it will be a boy, Charlie thinks it will be a girl. I have no idea and neither does Ben. It will be fun to find out in six or seven weeks!!

I feel extremely grateful this is happening and am praying everything goes smoothly with the pregnancy. I have felt more nauseous and exhausted than I felt with the boys, but I also wasn't as busy as I am now, chasing them and still trying to run my business/function in multiple capacities. So I don't think the symptoms necessarily indicate it is a boy or a girl.

I've consumed a lot of popcorn and at least one grapefruit a day (often two or three!) because it's nice and filling and not sweet, somehow really satisfying and didn't make me feel queasy (I was that way with the other pregnancies too - loved grapefruit). Dinners have been pretty minimal for the last two months, but my kids rarely touch the nicer meals I make anyway, so they haven't minded. Peanut butter and honey sandwiches, cold cereal, frozen waffles, hot dogs, and fruit were pretty frequent around here and I keep telling myself (and Ben!) I will make real food again soon. 

And it's a good thing Xoco's churros are a bit of a drive or I would be there every week :) I'd better stick to my grapefruit...