Thursday, January 31, 2013

Date Night at the Cafe N Play

On Friday nights lately, we've been having a family date at the Cafe N Play. I can work on grading grad school papers while the boys play, and around 7 they always have a story and craft. The boys adore it there.




Henry got some paperwork done, too, apparently.























The best part is that I don't have to clean up any of the messes. The boys sat so nicely sat for the beginning of the story, but then the crowd started wandering away.


















The craft went over better, I think. The boys made ladybugs.



































The ladybugs turned out pretty cute.



















Henry's is on the left, and Nick's is on the right.


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Henry hates being on hold for customer service. . .

. . . but he has a pretty good attitude about it.



































"Please hold for the next available representative." Aw, man, I've already been waiting ten minutes.

















Hey, what kind of calling plans do you have for the toddler age group? Do I get a discount for only knowing a few words? No, sir, I won't need the texting plan. I don't know my letters yet.



































I'd love angry birds, though. Can I get that?

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Mesmerized

One of the few ways I can get my boys to stop fighting instantly and come when called is to turn on the "Gagnam Style" video. Yesterday, they both came running when Grandpa Ray turned on youtube on his ipad.


















From wherever they are, these boys come running and stand, mesmerized, staring at the screen. Nick dances, but Henry often just stares or claps. Or does the splits.



































Nick likes to sing his own version of the lyrics. Instead of: "Hey, sexy lady!" he sings, "Hey, sister lady man!" He also has his own interesting version of Korean. I probably don't want to know what he's actually saying.

















 Check out these moves.



video

Friday, January 25, 2013

Shaving Cream Art

On Wednesday, I brought out a can of shaving cream and we used a few trays to do some drawing. Grandma Toni helped, and Nick and Henry created some, um, masterpieces.


















I can remember doing this in school when I was a child, and I've used this activity as a teacher multiple times. The boys absolutely loved it.


















Henry got more shaving cream in his hair than anywhere else, but he was sure excited. I actually got Nick to play a game with me where we drew letters and numbers in the shaving cream and guessed what they were.


















We will be playing with shaving cream again. If you smear it around long enough, it just disappears. Your arms and hands get nice and soft, and everything smells good. Henry, however, did need his hair washed.

video

Thursday, January 24, 2013

A Snowy Day (Kind of)

We haven't had much snow in this part of the Chicago area this winter. Not that I'm complaining. Actually, unless I am in a comfy chair, looking outside at the snow, I can't stand it. But the kids love it!
















It took nearly as long to get them ready to go outside as they actually spent outside.

















There wasn't really enough snow to make a snowman, so the boys just rolled around in it.


















Nick also tried making snow angels.


















Would you like to know the best part? I got to watch from the window. I wore my pajamas and waved.

















Greg had the boys out the whole time, and I just made cocoa. . . from scratch. I made it with dark chocolate cocoa and skim milk on the stove. It was delicious, though the boys adored the marshmallows even more than the cocoa. Check out Henry's cocoa goatee.



































Cheers!


Monday, January 21, 2013

Chocolate Festival 2013

On Saturday, I was excited to take Henry and Nick to the Chocolate Festival in Naperville. We went in 2011, when Nick was two, and he loved it. Henry has never been, so this was his first time.  He was taste-testing chocolate lava cake in this picture.



































Nick adored the cupcakes from Miss Jean's. I thought their chocolate with strawberry frosting was my absolute favorite cupcake ever.























Grandma Patty and Grandpa Mike joined us at the Chocolate Festival, and they sampled many yummy treats, too.


















Both boys thought that the best room was the Kids' Activity Room, where there were bouncy houses, giant tinkertoys, and even a little mini-golf ramp. I think you can guess what Nick liked best.


















Henry was very indecisive. He badly wanted to go into the bouncy houses, but would climb just a few feet inside and then back slowly out. Then he would stand watching the other kids with his hands behind his back, just like this.



































They had balloon artists, as well. They made Henry a ladybug bracelet, and Nick a sword (of course).



































Once Nick had his sword, he had imaginary fights with everyone for the next hour.


















Nick also participated in a cookie-stacking contest. The competition was fierce, but Nick gave it his best shot. I'm especially proud that he clapped for the winner and didn't get (outwardly) mad when his cookie tower fell down.



































We also went to a kids' cooking class, where the boys got to make their own snowman cupcakes. Henry didn't quite get the idea of waiting to decorate his cupcake. He tried to eat it, then smeared the frosting all over himself before it could be decorated. . . much.



































Nick waited in line for supplies, then decorated his cupcake with every single thing he could find. He is getting slightly better at waiting in line.


















Here they are chatting about cupcakes.

video

Nick's has been getting pretty reticent about having his picture taken lately. He was very mad when I snapped this one.























We had a great time at this festival, though I wouldn't recommend it for those watching calories. Nick wanted to go again on Sunday. I told him this festival happens only once per year, and he was pretty disappointed.


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Story Night at Cafe n Play

I often take the boys out for a "date" on Fridays. By the end of the week, I'm mentally drained, but I do want to spend some time with the boys.  One of our favorite places to go is Cafe n Play in Naperville. It is only five minutes from my school, and the boys can relax until 8 p.m. Also, the Cafe n Play allows me to relax a bit, because I can sit on the floor with the boys and read a book while they wander around and play.


















We went last week for their story time and craft hour. Nick enjoyed the story "If You Give a Cat a Cupcake," but Henry roamed around and pretended to mop the carpet.





















The craft was fun (and messy for both boys).


















They drew with markers and painted with glitter glue.



































Nick is getting better with scissors.























Henry, on the other hand, is pretty adept at making a mess and smearing glitter glue.


















All in all, it was not a bad way to spend a Friday night. We had a sandwich there and went home just in time for bedtime. The house didn't get messy, I didn't have to cook, and I got to read for several 10 minute increments while the boys played.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Nick was a ring bearer!

My sister-in-law got married a few weeks ago, and Nicholas was asked to be the ring bearer. He was so excited and proud!



































Alright, I don't know about proud, but he sure was excited to be in the city. I don't think he understood quite what his role was in the ceremony either. He thought his tuxedo was pretty cool, though.



































I don't think Nicholas will be too shy to talk to girls when he gets older. He was schmoozing these lovely bridesmaids and snatching their crackers before the ceremony. He had never met either lady before, but snuggled right in as soon as he had the opportunity.


















For the actual ceremony, Nick, as per usual, didn't follow directions. He walked out and ran past the aisle. Then, when prompted by smiling wedding guests, he ran back the way he came. Finally, the third time was the charm, but he ran full force up the aisle toward his beloved Aunt Sarah and Uncle Jay.




At least he had a smile on his face. The flower girls (Nick's cousins) did their jobs perfectly and looked adorable in their matching dresses. Here they are with the bride and groom.  :)


































Nick loved the music and the dancing, and he was even dancing in his chair at one point.

















Then I took him out on the floor, and we discovered that Nick has moves!



































I'm actually not sure where he got them from. Greg is not a dancer, and though I will dance, my skills are extremely limited. Nick can copy the dance moves of others really quickly. He also has very little shyness.



































Nick took a little break, and since it more than two hours after his bedtime, he drifted off.


















He woke up when he heard his favorite song start, though. Nick is a huge fan of Psy and his big hit, "Gagnam Style." He ran out onto the dance floor and started doing the dance. His moves were actually mostly correct, and he copied everyone else. All the other kids were pretty much gone by then, and the adults thought it was pretty cool to have a four year old out there dancing with them.


















The other dancers moved in a circle around the dance floor and let Nick have the center. Then they clapped for him as he broke it down, Gagnam Style. He had a whole crowd cheering for him!

I did get Greg out for one dance, but I think he wasn't in the mood. That's okay. I had Nick to dance with.



































By the time midnight was nearing, Nick's little body finally gave up and he passed out. This is one of my favorite photos of the night, because Nick looks so peaceful. (More like comatose.) It was a great wedding.


















Aunt Sarah and Uncle Jay used a very talented wedding photographer, who got some beautiful shots. If you'd like to see them, click here. Congratulations Aunt Sarah and Uncle Jay!