Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Warrior Dash 2011

It isn't very often that my four sisters and I are all together but this year we decided we would have a girls weekend and run the Warrior Dash in Mt. Morris, MI. On Saturday night we stayed in a hotel (all minus Kendra) and went out for our "4th" meal of the day and did a little shopping.  It was so nice to have some girl talk and to be able to bond with my sisters again!

On Sunday morning we did some more shopping and then wound up at Walmart (a place that I try to avoid) and spent about an hour there trying to find matching shirts for all of us.  We went in and out of the store probably 8 times and then we finally found shirts that would work for all of us!  When we all get together is a fun time but we tend to cause a scene!

We got to the race early, did a little dancing around, did not drink enough water, and then decided to line up for our heat early as to not get stuck in the back of the wave.  The race was AMAZING!  It was full of running, jumping over cars, rock walls, dark tunnels, mud, fire and MORE mud!  The running was the hardest part because it was 4:30 in the afternoon and it was 96 outside with NO breeze.

I am so glad that I got to spend this time with Tori, Kendra, Taite and Kinsey and am looking forward to running it next year (I'll be more prepared for the race next time!).  I wish we could get together more often but I am thankful for the times that we are able to have; there is never a dull moment!

We are going to be cleaning mud off our bodies for the next month!

Our Walmart Adventure
This must have been our 4th time in line!
Showing off our muscles.
Me climbing over the rope wall.
Running to the finish- all full of mud.
Standing on the pile of dirty shoes (to be donated to charity).
"Cleaned" up.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Grandma aka "Ninny" Comes to Town

The kids get super excited when their Ninny comes to visit them.  They get loved on and they love having her sleep in their house and just spending time with her; they did not leave her side the entire time she was here!  We had fun walking around the city, into fun stores and eating yummy pizza.  We look forward to her coming back soon.  Wish we had family that lived closer but when they do come, we really cherish their time here.  Here are some pictures she took while here.  The ones of Ninny and I were taken by Alyvia (did a great job!).
Getting pushed by Ninny

You would never know she was Grandma!  

She is happy ALL the time!

We could be sisters!

Trying on hats in the shoe store: Ander's was a bit big and Alyvia is in mid twirl.

Riding along in her Sling  (so comfy).

Me pushing my "crew".  It was hot and I was tired!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Good Bye Grandpa Bill

I have not had to deal with any immediate (to me) death since I was in the first grade and I thought that when the time came I would be completely fine, boy was I wrong.  I am usually a very controlled person, good at keeping my emotions under control and hiding them well.  When my sister called to tell me the news that Grandpa Bill had passed I was a well of emotions.  We knew the time was coming, he was 91 and lived an amazing live, but that still does not make it any easier.  I am sad that I did not get to go and say goodbye to him and even more sad at the times I could have gone and saw him and did not.  This is a great reminder that live is precious and to not take it for granted (very cliche, I know).

All growing up I wanted to grow up and become an adult and do adult things and now that I am an adult I am beginning to realize that it is hard work.  There is so much to deal with, so many responsibilities, people counting on you and never really a break to just exist.  I want to curl up and lay in bed for a whole day but alas the kids need to be fed and the house needs to be cleaned so maybe another day.

Love you Grandpa Bill.
Anderson and Grandpa Bill eating togetherl on his 90th Birthday lat year.

Friday, July 1, 2011

A Day at the Beach

Yesterday was an absolutely gorgeous day.  Another day when I remember why I love Chicago (remind me this when it is January!) so much.  I was a bit spoiled to grow up in Elk Rapids, MI where the water is crystal clear, the beaches are full of sand and there are no floating diapers in the water (eww!).  The Chicago beaches are average and most of the time filthy and over crowded (we recently ranked #6 for worst beaches).  I decided to brave the beaches and try a new one and we are in love!  Foster beach is smaller but cleaner and less populated than the rest and it did its job of entertaining the kids and allowing me to get some much needed sun.  Overall a really good day!

Anderson, Jack and Alyia exploring the water.

Building sandcastles. 

Amelia was content just sitting on the blanket playing with a wipe (who needs toys?).

Future Bay Watch star!

Thinking about going for a swim.

She got bored with the wipe so I gave her a bite of my apple.  Such a GOOD baby!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Perfect Day for the Park

Some days I long for a backyard and a space for my children to roam around and play for hours and then I remember the wonderful city I live in.  I can walk around for hours and never get bored, go to a new park everyday and lay out on a blanket in the middle of the park and get some sun.  Today was an amazing day and I am so very blessed to be where I am.
I love this boy.  He is a stinker but oh my goodness he is such a lover!

Amelia zonked out.

He told me "I want to tan with you mama" and I could not resist.

Alyvia wanted to take a picture of us all tanning.  

Jack and Alyvia climbing trees, or as they called it "their spaceship".

Monday, June 27, 2011

Are you My (Children's) Mother?

When Alyvia was a baby I followed whatever everyone else told me to do.  My parenting would change with who I was around because I was trying to please everyone else.  Not only did this exhaust me but it really confused Alyvia.  I also did things that I had always seen modeled before me and never thought that I would have an option to do differently or to question what it was that I was doing.

When we moved to Chicago I had no daily examples of being a mom, my sisters were not around me and I had no close friends that were parents so I had to become my own person.  This was something very new to me; all my life I followed my sisters and aspired to do everything they did (without questioning if it was right for me) and now I had to think on my own.  Jonathan will sometimes joke about me being a completely different person now then I was when we met and I just have to laugh because its true.  The more I begin to think for myself and ask God how he wants me to raise my family, the more passionate I become about raising my children.  I want to raise them the way God wants and the way I want, not how anybody else wants me to raise them.  What works for some may not work for our family.

I am going to pick up my baby when she cries, nurse her when she is hungry (yes, even if she was just fed 5 minutes ago) or if she just wants comfort, let my little ones snuggle in the bed when they are having a bad dream. I will carry Amelia in a carrier on my front/back for as long as it comfortable for us both. I will not force them to eat everything on their plate if they do not like it BUT I will make them try at least a few bites.  I will not pump my children full of artificial products, red dyes or unwanted pesticides BUT will not deny them when we are with guests or with company.  I will cloth diaper my babies.  I will vaccinate on a delayed schedule. I will stick up for them, even if this means I am that "crazy mom" at the park!

These are some of things that I am passionate about as a parent and some may not agree with it, but guess what?  At the end of the day they are my children, God gave them to me and I am trusting Him to show me how to raise them.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Crunchy Chocolate Granola Bars

We love granola bars around here and go through them like water!  I found a simple and easy recipe (from Kid's Time) and altered to our family's tastes.  Alyvia loved helping make these and more so enjoyed eating them!

Crunchy Chocolate Granola Bars

2 C whole oats (uncooked)
1/3 C ground flax seed
3/4 C organic brown sugar
1/2 C organic butter (1 stick)
1 ts pure vanilla extract
1 C organic chocolate chips
dash of baking soda

Preheat oven to 350
Line an 8x8 pan with parchment paper

Mix the dry ingredients in a medium bowl and set aside.
In a medium saucepan stir in butter, brown sugar and vanilla and bring to a boil.
Let boil for 1 minute and then remove from heat.
Add dry ingredients to the sugar mix and stir until well mixed.
Cook in oven for 10 minutes.
Cut while warm and then let cool.

I found that the sugar may be a bit much and could probably be brought down to 1/2 or even less.  Next time I am going to add 1/2 C peanut butter.  This a great base.  For a more healthy snack, omit the chocolate chips and add chopped nuts and dried fruit.

These are great for breakfast or for a quick snack.  My little ones gobble them up!  The best part is I know what is going in them so I know what my kids are eating!


Monday, May 16, 2011

Back to Reality

We are back from Denver.  It is taking a bit of readjusting getting back into the routine of everyday life and having Jonathan be back at work, but we are slowly getting there.

I am trying to be content with where I am right now and trust God knows that we are here in Chicago for a reason, but sometimes I wonder where we will ultimately end up.  I fell in love with Colorado, the mountains, the love for nature and the beautiful weather.  I do love it here, I love the lake, the zoo, my Church family and the fall but sometimes I get set on having my children grow up where they can play in nature and not just at a park.  I am trusting God's plan for my life and know that He has us here for a reason and for this season in our life.

On a side note, the apartment is almost 100% done!  Just Jonathan and I's room is left but it may be a few days before I get to that because it is a bit overwhelming to go in there!  Once it is all set up I will get pics up of everything.

Meditating on this scripture this week. Jeremiah 29:11  For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Some more pictures from our vacation: