Sunday, June 30, 2013

What to do when you get kicked out of the house. . .

Every year, right before we have a party, Greg kicks me out of the house. He tells me to take the boys and go away for many hours so that he can clean. This year, Grandma Toni was visiting us and she got kicked out, too.   ;)

Here Grandma, I'm making you some lunch!

We started out our day of eviction with a few hours of play at Cafe N Play. You would think this might get out some of that energy for which my children are so well-known, but no luck there.

I refuse to slow down and look at the camera, even for one second!

After working up quite an appetite, we continued our exile with lunch at Flat Top Grill. The boys love it there because they get to pick whatever meats and veggies they want in their stir fry meals. I love it because kids four and under eat free. (Whoo-eee!)

After lunch, we went to Nick's favorite park in the whole world. Henry isn't old enough to rank them, but I'm pretty sure this one would be in his top five as well.

Did you know that this blue stuff is really soft when you fall on it? I love it!

Nick adores the sand box, and he gets sand in his crevices every single time. We let them play a good, long time on this playground.

I really don't care that my pants are filled with sand. 

After the park, we walked along Naperville's Riverwalk for awhile, then out for frozen yogurt at Red Mango, which has the best make-your-own sundaes. Can you tell we were really suffering from being kicked out of the house all day?

Nick was mad because we wouldn't let him walk closer to the river. 

You can get quite a brain freeze from frozen yogurt!

I would have eaten all of Mommy's yogurt, if she would have let me!

The best part of our eviction day was actually our last half-hour or so, when we visited one of the fountains. The boys had seen people cooling their feet in the fountain when we'd walked by earlier, and they wanted to try it, too.

Henry's toes were a little hesitant to touch the cool water, at least at first.

Henry loved running around the fountain and then feeling the water at different points.

"Look, I see a doggie!" At least, that's what we think he was pointing at.

This water isn't too cold after all! It's fun for splashing!

We do not want to leave the fountain! Please don't make us go home!

Our day out of the house ended with both boys passed out in the back of the van. I think Grandma Toni and I would've taken a nap, too, had that been an option. It was a pretty tiring day, but we had a ton of fun while Greg cleaned the house.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Dents, Whiplash, Car Seats, and a DeLorean

How did a minor collision lead to Nick watching "Back to the Future" three times in a two-day period? There is, indeed, a way that the dents, whiplash, car seats, and DeLorean all fit together.  I shall explain. . .

On Thursday, I was on my way home from lunch with some friends. I was alone in my car (a Sebring, not a DeLorean), stopped at a stoplight, when someone rammed into me. Actually, an SUV rammed into the car behind me, pushing it into the back of my car. My car wasn't too damaged, just some dents, though I have to get it checked to see if the frame or alignment were damaged. More frustrating than the accident was the waiting nearly two hours for the Aurora police department to show up. They never did, and the Naperville police finally came, told us we didn't have to wait for Aurora anymore, and took care of writing up the reports. So that's the part about the dents.

See? Doesn't look like much, does it?

Ahh, on to the whiplash. It seems that I have it, though I had x-rays and nothing is hurt too badly. I kind of feel like someone rolled over my back and neck with a steamroller, but I know it could be much worse. I'll find out more at my appointment Monday.

The first viewing of the 1980s classic happened simply because my neck was hurting rather badly, and I wanted to rest. Back to the Future was on our DVR, and Nick loved it almost as much as he adores petting Molly. He watched it while I spent several hours (yes, really, hours) on the phone with the insurance company, trying to figure out my next steps.

That brings us to the car seats.

The officer who handled our accident told me that when a car with car seats is in any accident, regardless of whether the children were in the car or if there is damage, the seats must be replaced. Thank goodness the insurance picks that up. Greg and I had to go to the Buy Buy Baby to choose new car seats for the boys. We had lunch at this nice little place in Lombard called The Patio. Yum.

Henry was perturbed because I wouldn't let him eat his brownie first. 

The car seats took up just about our entire van. I'm not sure how people transport car seats if they don't have a large vehicle. They must take them out of the box.

Henry was passed out by the time we got home, and I knew that if I put Nick in the room with him, he wouldn't nap. So Nick and I made a secret deal. No nap, but he had to stay on the couch. I played him Back to the Future yet again.

I'm going to take more Advil and hope for the best. Have a great weekend!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Closet Madness

I gave myself a project this week. While I am far from the most organized lady around, when I decide on a big project, I put a lot of effort into doing it right. My kids have a ton of toys, and it's hard for them to play when everything is scattered about. I had done a few boxes back in January, but I wanted to finish and organize everything so that the toys would be easily sortable.
We can make sure all of our flights leave on time

I tasked myself with cleaning out our coat closet and making it into a toy closet filled with organized toy boxes for the boys. I cannot express the magnitude of this task. It took me pretty much an entire day, and I was up until midnight.

After all, who needs a whole closet for coats when our family has so many different kinds of toys? First, I condensed the coats down to just a few, with extra hangers for when we have company. Then, I came up with photo labels for each toy box to show what it contains. This one is construction toys, which, I might add, I picked up at a garage sale for $7.50. There are a lot more of them, too--a whole box!

Then I printed out the pictures and labeled every box with a description of its contents. The closet is nearly full, but I eventually ran out of boxes.

Here is Henry playing with the zoo animals box. We're still tracking down some of the 2,355 little people animals scattered around the house, but at least now when we find them, there's a definite box to put them in: the zoo animals box!

I took all of our hats and scarves for all seasons, and stashed them in this box on the top shelf. I'm impressed with how many boxes I managed to fit into this closet.

I may not be making huge progress during my summer break, but I'm am very pleased with how I've created this special area for the boys.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Roaming Around Brookfield Zoo

One of our favorite ways to tire the boys out is a trip to Brookfield Zoo. It tends to tire all of us out, actually, and the kids love learning about all the different animals.

We have a membership, so we go at least a few times every year. This time, we went with Grandma Toni, Aunt Sarah, and Uncle Jay.

Since this was only a few days after Henry's birthday, we made sure to visit the monkey house. Monkeys are Henry's favorite animal. He was mesmerized staring at them.

"Muh-key! Eee-ee-ooo--ooo!"

Henry made a point of making monkey noises and pointing at all the different monkeys, gorillas, etc. He really liked the mama and baby we saw. Nick was interested as well.

Nick measured his hand against a gorilla's hand.

"Isn't my new hat cool? My head got bigger. My hand is still pretty small, though."

We visited the bird house, and Nick tried to imitate the bird. We actually told him to smile, but this is what we got. I'm assuming he was making a bird face. Either that or he was constipated.

Henry got really excited when we found the macaws. We had been looking for them since we entered the zoo.

I had Henry wear his "safari outfit," though he kept taking off his hat. It's funny how I buy all of these adorable hats and I can't, for the life of me, figure out how to make the kids keep them on their heads.

Henry ended up walking more than he does usually, mostly because he got grumpy in the stroller. Very grumpy.

See how much happier Henry is outside of the stroller? No, really, this is happier.

Nick's favorite exhibit is The Living Coast. He adores the giant wave that comes in from the ceiling.

Henry wasn't so sure about it at first, but then he was intrigued.

The penguins are probably Nick' favorite part of his favorite exhibit. His favorite stuffed animal is named "Penguidy" and is a stuffed penguin from Brookfield, so I suppose it shouldn't be surprising that he prefers these waddling cold-weather birds. Henry liked them, too. He couldn't say penguin, though.

"irr-dee!" (That's how Henry says "birdy.")

So long as the weather is warm, we always let the boys run around in the splashing area outside The Living Coast.

I tend to just strip the kids down to their diapers so that they're not sloshing around the whole day. One day, when Nick doesn't wear diapers anymore, (that day has got to come eventually) I'll have to bring an extra pair of shorts for him.

Henry kept letting the water spray right in his face, and then running away shrieking. Then he'd do it again. Nick liked standing on the spray nozzles and running around screaming.

Here's some video, just in case you don't have enough running around and shrieking in your day.

I love these impromptu splash areas for kids. I think it's great that they can run out their energy between visits to animal exhibits. I'm glad that we have a membership, though. I don't feel like we have to visit the whole zoo, or even more than a few exhibits. We can always go back another day.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Planning a Special Father's Day for Greg

I wanted Father's Day to be special for Greg this year, and I really thought about what he might want. He's been talking about getting a new grill for ages, so I took the boys over to Target to make some decisions.

Henry found many potential gifts in the outdoor catalog at Target, but we did end up going with a grill. 

I let the boys decorate their own wrapping paper, so that Greg would get a personal touch to his gift. I simply took some of my "girly" wrapping paper and wrapped it inside out. Then I gave the boys some chunky crayons and had them go to town on the wrapped box. 

The final result was not beautiful, but it was clearly designed for Greg, by the boys.

I also designed a card for him to showcase what a wonderful daddy we think he is:

I think Greg is really going to enjoy his new grill. The boys sure enjoyed helping him unwrap it.