Tuesday, January 27, 2015

What do kids do in the winter?

When it's cold outside and you've got lots of energy, what are two active little boys going to do with themselves? Have no fear, Henry and Nick can find plenty to keep themselves occupied!

First off, they have been playing spies. After watching all three Spy Kids movies, these guys are doing all sorts of pretending with weird gadgets. Henry even told the lady who cut his hair that he wanted her to "make me look like Juni!" (the boy in the Spy Kids movies).

He had to settle for a faux hawk. They both wore their "spy vests" around all last weekend. Another way they have of dealing with winter boredom is with art. Nick has been drawing, both with his Grandma Linda and with his daddy. This is an airplane and a little bird.

Tonight Nick drew his own version of the Mona Lisa. We hung it up on the wall since we like it so much.

Henry's art is a little more, er, avante garde. He took this particular photo, which is unique and rather, ahem, artsy. (Yes, that's the cat litter box, a dart, and  our kitchen floor.)

Henry also made this cool picture at school. I like the colors he picked.

Oh, and if all of this wasn't enough to keep them busy in the cold weather, a laundry basket and a basketball hoop have done a decent job of keeping them occupied.

Not too shabby for having to stay indoors!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Cousins Playing Together

A few weeks ago, Henry and Nick got some time to play with their cousin Sophie. They were very, very excited. She was a little more dubious.

She loved watching the boys, but you can almost see her thinking, "Why is that kid playing with my toys?"

It's amazing how put-together Sophie always looks. When my sons were that age, they always had food smashed in their hair, drool down their shirts, snot everywhere, and dingy random stains on their pants from crawling around. Not Sophie.

Button-down cardigan? Check. Pants with no wrinkles? Check. Sophie is ready for the baby runway. Nick? Not so much.

Nick loves holding her, and he's pretty gentle. My niece has actually given me the perfect way to make Nick and Henry stop calling everyone and everything a "baby." I told them that they were NOT allowed to use the word baby unless an actual baby was around. "Like Sophie?," Nick asked. "Yup," I said, "and Sophie's feelings would be hurt if she knew you were calling others babies."  So far it has worked. I think they believe that every time they call one another "baby" as an insult, Sophie cries.

We tried Nick's penguin hat on Sophie, and she tolerated it for four seconds.

I hope the cousins have more time to play together as they grow. Nick and Henry talked about playing with baby Sophie for days-they were so excited.

Have a great week!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Chocolate Festival 2015

The last few years, we've loved going to the Naperville Chocolate Festival. It has just about everything that little kids could want. Cookie stacking contest? Check.

Hey, they didn't win, but they liked the stacking process. This year, I managed to dissuade Henry from munching on the communal stacking cookies.

He was happy enough with his "prize cookie." (Everyone got a prize cookie, Henry was just extra excited about his.

I don't blame him. Chocolate cookies are worthy of celebration. But that wasn't all this festival had to offer. They had a bouncy house, too!

Nick liked the slide, though he preferred going down backwards and upside down!

This year, the room for kids had fewer offerings than in the past. What they had was nice, but I thought last year the kid room had many more things to do: basketball, two bouncy houses, and cool stuff from the DCM. This year it was somewhat smaller. Oh, well. At least Nick got to make this really tall chef's hat.

One convenient thing about the festival this year: It was on a Sunday, so Greg was able to go with us.

The "Kids in the Kitchen" part is always one of my favorites. I thought it was neat how this year, they gave the kids real bags of icing to decorate cookies. Check out how much they're concentrating!

The decorating was fun but messy, though I do think they should have used chocolate frosting.

I think I'll be attending the chocolate festival again next year, too. It was a fun day.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Winter Break and Cold Days

My winter break ended on Monday, but the extremely cold temperatures resulted in two days off of school. Thanks to Amazon Prime, there was also lots of playing in empty boxes.

Lots of silly faces, too. 

The boys were home with me for both Wednesday and Thursday, and we got in some good snuggles under the electric blanket.

Nick and Henry especially liked snuggling in their new Star Wars pajamas.

Between the after Christmas part of winter break and the two extra days of frozen, er, fun, I actually got quite a bit accomplished. Right before break, the shelves and hanging bars in my closet collapsed. It was rather sad, especially for my clothes, so I had a handyman come in and fix the closet. Since I was paying him loads of $ anyway, I asked for extra shelving and ended up with two rows for hanging lots and lots of clothes.

We also had several visits to indoor play places, because. . . well, you can't go outside in weather like this. Visiting bouncy houses and play places is a great way to get their energy out.

They also watched The Lego Movie approximately 40,389 times. Henry is holding Vitruvius here.

Over break, Henry worked really hard on potty training. For the first time, Henry has been going on the potty 3-4 times per day. He still has accidents, but we're proud of him. The financial impact of rewarding him with potty prizes for every deposit is becoming a little extreme, however, Next week we're going to move to a sticker chart method, instead.

It wasn't just my closet that got organized over my break (both the real break and cold break). I took an entire day and took apart our pantry. When I put it back together, I found seven partially open bags of flour, just as one example. Let's not talk about the number of boxes of macaroni and cheese hanging out in there. The end result was pretty nice, though.

I'd call it a successful break, though I still didn't get caught up with my laundry.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Winter Break Fun

Last week I took Nick and Henry to the Museum of Science and Industry with Grandpa Mike and Grandma Patty. We have a membership but don't get into the city often. The kids love this museum.

They still had all the beautiful Christmas trees up. I love going around this time of year to see all the different trees. I don't think Nick and Henry were quite as enthusiastic about the trees, though.

They liked the hands-on stuff much better. With these switches, they could change up the colors and make the lighting reflect any colors on the visible spectrum.

Henry loved the ripple shadows. They suspended a big clear dish of water over this area, and then you can make ripples in the water and the reflection shows up below. Henry ran around the ripples for quite awhile.

The boys were very interested in the planes as well, though they were wondering why this one looks like it's going to crash. Their daddy is very into studying airplane crashes, so no wonder they were fascinated.

This hands-on air experimentation exhibit let them move the airflow to make the balls blow around. It also blew their hair around.

Grandma and Grandpa helped them make their own tsunamis. They destroyed the village over and over again. Ahh, but my kids love destruction.

It was a great way to spend the day, and the boys were exhausted by the time we were done at the museum. I will have to get back there soon, before our membership expires.