Monday, December 29

Christmas Time is HERE!!

-It's taking longer to compose a post because something happened to the laptop I use and now I have trouble logging in to get pictures uploaded-

We've been christmasing since the middle of December when we did lunch with our friends, the Lettenbergers. So even though the kids are starting to understand Christmas/Jesus/Santa, it's hard for us to explain why we give and get gifts on multiple days. Of course all the kids played until it was obvious we needed to go and the adults managed a little grown-up time as well!

Last weekend we made the trek to Wausau for the Bonin Christmas, always celebrated the weekend before, rotating to different houses. Historically, this weekend brings snow - some years warranting a midnight shovel party! But of course it has been unseasonably warm, and we had no trouble with the 3 hour long travel. It was a fun family sleepover and Kelsey and Drew were able to spend some precious time with their big cousins.

Then we did 5 Christmases in 3 days; three big ones and two small ones. We just love getting to see the great-grandparents and sharing the kids with them. Our kids are becoming more comfortable playing with family they sometimes only see once a year.

We had a blessed holiday season and it was quiet the experience watching the kids take it all in and share their love with all of our family! They have been singing carols around the house - which reminds me that Kelsey and Drew had a sweet little Christmas program at school where the preschoolers did their own story of the birth of Jesus - our kids were the stable cows! They had costumes, props, and sang a couple songs. Then we had a birthday party for Jesus in the lunchroom before starting the Christmas break. Craig is home now till Jan. 5th with the kids and we'll see how fast he purges the old toys to make room for the new stuff!!

Our Cows!
The whole class

Cutest nephew ever in his Christmas outfit

Pre-church snack

Opening gifts Christmas morning at Aunt Tara's


Looking at their loot at Grandma's

Learning how to use her new roller skates! Brings back
the memories:)
Little Benson making sure Tara puts the batteries in right

Thursday, December 11

Camera Shy

You will see that most of this post contains pictures of Drew. Some days Kelsey just doesn't do paparazzi. She's also not been feeling the best. This winter cold is dragging on a little longer than I'd like.

St. Nick



So last weekend we went to my step-dad's rural volunteer fire station for a pancake breakfast with Santa. Last year, the kids hid behind me and cried when I asked if they wanted to say hi to him. Of course this year I wasn't expecting anything magical when they saw Santa but Drew was in heaven! He's been talking about the big guy for a while so I think he was ready to meet him. Kelsey's first impression was, "maybe later, mom". I didn't push it. Drew was ready to sit in his lap, big toothy grin. Santa asked him about 3 times what he wanted for Christmas. Finally he said, "a blue one." If only it was that easy!! My nephew Benson was with us this year and had his first encounter with Santa. There was some tears but we managed to take some pictures.




Sunday night the Canadian Pacific holiday train was scheduled to make a stop in Milwaukee. We thought it would be a nice quick thing to do with the kids - donate some food for the local hunger task force and enjoy a show! Buuuuuuuuut, it turned out the train was AN HOUR LATE! It was scheduled to arrive at 6:50 (I know, real precise) and we were only going to stay to see the lights and skip the actual show. Kelsey was already sitting/laying on the ground. I'm thankful that I decided to dress them in full winter gear, otherwise there would have been temperature complaints too. Around 7:30 I looked at Kelsey and said, "should we go?" She moved so quick, you would have thought I told her I had cookies:). By the time we made it to the car and drove towards the train station to pick up the guys, the holiday train was rolling in. Kelsey was able to see it from her car seat. We found a place to wait and Drew and Craig were in the car by 8. One of the train cars opens up and there is a singer, which ended up being too loud for Drew's sweet baby ears (like his mom).

Gingerbread house they made with their babysitter Alex

The benefits of Grandpa Irv being on the fire department - private
fire truck tours!!

Wednesday, November 26

9 Week Adjustment

This is a little over due, since they have been in school for almost 3 months. But we received cute little reports from their teacher letting us know how things are going. And it is obvious which is transitioning better and handling the change with a little more grace:) Having a teacher as a parent alerted Craig to the "creative" language she used. I read between the lines and interpreted what was REALLY going on (and the day I volunteered, I witnessed some neat behavior from Drew).

    Kelsey has adjusted beautifully to our school and classroom routines. She is excited when she             arrives, appears happy at school, and is an active, engaged learner. She has established
    relationships with both teachers and peers.

    Drew has adjusted very well to our school and classroom routines. He loves to be with his friends       and he makes a wide variety of good choices during playtime. He responds well to redirection
    and he is beginning to get used to the length of the school day.


This past weekend Craig's sister and niece came to visit us while his brother-in-law and nephew were hunting. We had such a fun time watching movies by the fire, playing new games, going to the Christmas parade downtown, and finishing the weekend with brunch!! We've been to the parade in past years and the weather was okay - bundled up in snow pants CAN be enjoyable! This year the temp was warmer but the risk of getting rained on was high. We packed hot chocolate and brought the wagon and ended up staying dry. It was a nice parade that lasted just long enough and then we headed to a local burger joint to warm up and fill up :)

Of course, enjoying some hot chocolate





Tuesday, November 18

TV Stars

 So our kids go to gymnastics at a facility owned by the parents of olympian Chelsie Memmel. Their instructor is Mara, Chelsie's sister, and she teaches all the younger classes - and is the best because I think I've said this before, but it's gotta be equivalent to herding cats. TMJ 4 news did their preps plus show from M & M Gymnastics center, honoring Mara's younger sister, Skyler, who was signing her letter of intent to Central Michigan University. It happened to be the same night Kesley and Drew have their tiny tumblers class. If you click on the link, thankfully they are the first 'story'. If you want to skip through, they come on at 4:28. They are sitting on Mara's lap on the floor and Drew's willingness to participate is classic class clown status.

Preps Plus

Friday, November 7

Happy (Belated) Halloween

We had just amazing weather for trick-or-treating Sunday! (the opposite of every day since :( ) My mom lives up in a small country community, "where everyone knows your name" kind of town and  has a quaint, mellow Halloween. This year we were joined by our favorite little guy, Baby Benson, and Kelsey and Drew were actually excited to trick-or-treat AND dress up, something that was a struggle on years past. My whole family met at my mom's house; we all grabbed an adult beverage and headed out on the road because there are no sidewalks!

Kesley's outfit was hand-made by our favorite sitter, Arlene!!


Oh, just a random morning wake up call from your friendly fluffy cat

Wednesday, October 29

Let's Try This Again


For anyone who couldn't see the or get the link to work in the last post...I hope this is the winner!

Oh This Kid!

I've been telling Craig that I think we are going to get some calls about him when he gets to school about being a distraction to other students - he lives to make Kelsey laugh and be ham! He is often heard saying, "hey dad, hey dad! Watch this!" or, "hey mom! I just said ohyoyobobo!" Enjoy this video of his classic dance as Craig and I head off to sunny Miami for a quick trip with some friends to visit their parents (and obviously take in some much needed R &R!)

Butt Dance




Sunday, October 19

Picking Pumpkins

This past week our sitter took a well-deserved vacation! That meant I took 3 vacation days myself and my mom came the other two days. Kelsey and Drew had mixed feelings about this; they would randomly ask to go to Arlene's house but were also a little excited when they got to sleep in every morning and would ask if we were gonna stay home. I decided to take advantage of the days off and take my turn volunteering at the kids' school. It also happened to be picture day and Kelsey's turn to be the super star. Drew did not fare well with my presence at school. He wouldn't leave my side, he wouldn't take his picture, and he wanted me to carry him EVERYWHERE. There was coughing, snot-nosed kids all around and I seemed to be the only one using the hand sanitizer! Let's just say it wasn't the positive experience I was anticipating. I am going to send Craig next time ;)

The week before they went to the pumpkin farm with their class. They were over the moon about taking a school bus and going through the hay maze. They chatted about their chaperone, Miss Mona and later I found out that she had to carry their pumpkins after the kids picked them out - unfortunately Drew picked the biggest little pumpkin he could find! Such a dude!

So proud

These pumpkins don't sit still. They are moved almost every day.

One of my days off with them - we hit up the Zoo and went to the Farm for blue
ice cream. Thumbs Up!

We watched this handsome little man while his parents went to a wedding at the
Harley Museum. He even attended a birthday party with us.

Trick-o-Treat at the Greenfield Famer's Market! We just love going there every Sunday.
We will be sad when it ends next week

Thursday, October 9

Tidbits

The kids have made it through a month of school and are still enjoying it:) They are finishing up colors and are moving on to shapes. Kelsey sings me all the songs she is learning from the teacher. Drew gets embarrassed when she does it. They have a pumpkin farm trip, picture day, and a cool cat party coming up next month. All of these cute things help them have something to look forward to on school days.

We've had to start tricking Drew on gymnastics night. He's always excited to go but if Craig comes in with us, he asks Craig to hold him and then doesn't want to go with the coach when it's time for class. So the last 2 times Craig dropped us off and we told Drew that dad was going to go park the car and meet us inside. By the time we get in, get the shoes off, go to the bathroom, the teacher is ready but Craig waits in the car until he knows they've gone upstairs and into their tumbling room. At this point, Drew is SO excited for class, he practically jumps on the coach and waves to me as he goes up the stairs! I guess you end up doing whatever you have to!

AND somehow the moons/planets/stars aligned just right last week and Drew has started wearing a pull-up to bed. This all came about because I had not checked the laundry and all of his sheets and pads were not clean one night before bed. So Craig had a big talk with him. After a little coaxing, a couple whimpers from Drew, he put them on! When we first started potty training, they wanted nothing to do with pull-ups because they were too much like diapers. I am thrilled he isn't soaking his clothes and bed every morning. He calls them his "diaper undies" and has no issues wearing them every night!

I have no new pictures right now...sorry!

Saturday, September 20

'Mallows

Oh how the days keep flying by! School is going well for the kids - at least I haven't heard otherwise. It's hard to get 3 year olds to tell you exactly what happened or what they did. Thankfully the teacher sends a short note home telling me so at least I can ask them leading questions. I've heard from the sitter that most school mornings, Drew tells her he doesn't want to go but has no problem when they actually get there. I hate to tell him how many more years of school he has:(

I recently took the kids in for UTI suspicion.  Kelsey had 3 morning accidents and struggled to make it to the potty on time a couple days this week. And Drew's morning "accident" smelled so foul, I wasn't sure if it was just concentrated urine. As I thought, there was no infection but while we were there (and already paying the copay) the kids were able to get their flu shot! This was also the first time they were examined where they didn't completely freak out so even though there was no cause for alarm, we won:)

Lately we've been starting little fires a couple times a week to get rid of some brush Craig is clearing out. And the kids are totally enthralled with roasting marshmallows since watching "The Sandlot" (there's a tree house scene where Ham says...'you put the chocolate on the graham, then you roast the 'mallow, when the mallow's flaming...' Kelsey repeats it to us all the time). Well trying to get 3 year olds to keep the marshmallow on the stick, not let it start on fire, or have the patience to let it "roast" is like trying to herd cats. I usually limit the sticky fun to 2 mallows each and anyway, who needs all that sugar so close to bed? Sometimes we just roast marshmallows but last night I decided to use Oreo's, then there wouldn't be any chocolate/graham cracker fuss. They were good! It was fun all around and as you can see by the pictures, it ended in bath time:)



Sunday, September 7

Our Week In Pictures

Out Labor Day bike ride to the park
This is our first picture inside of school. Kelsey was very excited to hang her back pack up and get her papers ready to give to her teacher.

This is the first picture before we went into school. Kelsey cried because she wanted to go IN! I think there was so much hype about starting school that my pause to take the obligatory "first day of school" picture caused her anxiety. They had a great first week.

More kitty tackles...I mean snuggles! These cats sure put up with a lot.

We took this cute little guy with us to Indian Summer

And then we fought over who gets to push Benson in the stroller 
Drew petting a Native Indian breed horse

Lemonade and Indian taco break

Cousins!



The boys were all tuckered out after our nice day outside

Kelsey showing Benson her toys

And Drew giving rides

Tuesday, September 2

Best Friends and Sailing

Here we are September, which brings about some change for our family. Today is the first day of preschool. Tomorrow we are going to try gymnastics (Tiny Tumblers). Craig starts his 3rd year of school at ICS and another semester of grad school.

As of last night Kelsey told me she doesn't "have" to go to school and Drew just wants me to come along. The kids had a homework assignment to decorate the number 3 and bring it the first day, so at this point I have them excited to show their teacher their masterpiece!

And these two below...Kelsey is obsessed with the cats lately. It was like a switch flipped in her. She would start each morning laying on/hugging our biggest cat, Wriggs. He's pretty cool about it until he wants to go, so we are teaching Kelsey that if the cats wants to leave you have to let him.


 This went on for about a week and then finally the cats started to come to her! Below Kelsey is just waking from a nap, probably because this heavy cat was laying on her. But Wriggs just HAD to snuggle in close to her. This cat is already 11 years old so she might get another 8 years of snuggles out of him.


Saturday night we went to Discovery World on the lakefront for a sunset sail on the Denis Sullivan. It's a replica of a 19th century tall boat that would have hauled supplies up and down the Great Lakes. I thought it would be a fun family activity especially since the kids are so into boats and Jake and the Neverland Pirates. Although the crew kinda looks down on anyone that compares their boat to a pirate ship:) We watched them raise and lower the sails, helped the captain steer, looked at the living quarters down below (most of the crew lives ON the boat for free), and enjoyed the amazing weather. The boat holds about 50 people with crew and it really is for all ages.
The S/V Denis Sullivan Tall Boat

This storm delayed our boarding by 20 min but at least we didn't get wet.


Hoping to see a fish jump 
"Someone" rang that bell...

Of course the boat has it's own dog. Here, Brody's owner, the first mate
is showing the kids how many tricks he will do for a treat!



The storm rolling out over the lake in Bayview