Tuesday, December 29, 2009

New Year's PSA from Josh

Josh's latest past-time is writing notes and labels and taping them around the house. Today he labeled our tables and bathrooms, and he posted this sign on our coat closet. The writing on the blue tape reads "no running in the hose," and the rest means to say, "Parties are really important." So for all of you who like to have a good time, Josh gives you his hearty endorsement--as long as you walk. More work will ensue in 2010 on his spelling and apostrophe usage.

On an unrelated note, here are some more pictures from Christmas in Chicago.

The goggles left over from last summer were a big hit. Molly wore hers with the big pink snowsuit on our second trip to the sledding hill; unfortunately we were too cold to take our gloves off to get the camera out for that one.

The kids opened stockings on Christmas morning at Missy and Tyler's. We were joined by Tyler's family and some of their Danish relatives.

Slinkies are always a hit

Josh and Molly now have two sets of twin cousins; Rhys (left) and Avery are 3 months old

Here are Molly and Ethan playing at a Christmas/birthday party on Sunday

Thursday, December 24, 2009

It's cold in Chicago

While I'm enjoying the heated indoors, the kids are having a great time playing in the snow here in Chicago. We took them sledding yesterday, and Josh and Molly seemed to enjoy it--Josh even went down the hill a few times by himself, miraculously avoiding collisions at the bottom.

Grandpa takes Ethan and Molly down the hill with some help from Missy and Josh

Josh's solo trip

Today Grandpa helped them build a snowman in his front yard. Too bad this guy won't be around for the 4th of July.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas dinner

The first year Chris and I were married, I started a new tradition of serving an elaborate Christmas dinner. The first year we had two big tables of people, candlelight, homemade party favors and lots of wine. Kids have changed things. Now we have Christmas pizza.

This year the Finks joined us for Christmas dinner (at least the pizza was homemade), and we opened gifts from each other and from Tim and Hannah, who had sent presents from South America. The girls got gorgeous dolls from Bolivia, and Josh received a very cool rain stick and a set of magnetic balls that form different shapes. Molly immediately made herself a few bracelets from them.

Josh with his gift from the Finks

Molly's hair was channeling the Beatles tonight

Monday, December 14, 2009

Welcome, Walt

We took the kids over to the Finks tonight to meet baby Walt, the newest Fink, who was born on Dec. 7. The loved him, and Josh even tried to count the hairs on his head. I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to hold Walt on several occasions!

Walt's arrival has brought about some awkward questioning from the kids, including them trying to figure out who was in whose tummy when, and how babies get in and out of tummies. I thought I would just instinctively know what to say when these questions arose, but I had no idea. I just changed the subject and and was thankful for kids with short attention spans.

It has been very sweet to watch Josh, Molly and Vivy become friends. The only bad part is enduring Molly's wails of "I want Vivy" whenever we leave.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

2009 Annual Cookie Swap Group Photo

I ended a crazy week by hosting my annual neighborhood cookie swap, which never ceases to the be the most chaotic event of the season. My favorite part of the party is the group photo, which only happens after a group of parents corral the kids and somehow convince to stay together long enough for a photo.

The kids are now older, so most of them spent the afternoon outside playing on Josh and Molly's new playset. The party came to an abrupt end, however, when the boys found the hose on the side of the house and turned it on (Josh has owned up to this). Someone (again, Josh is the likely culprit), hosed down a few kids in the 40-degree weather. The kids thought it was hilarious; the moms not so much. The party continued to erode when Josh came into change his wet clothes and ran through the house in his underwear, followed by Molly dumping a huge container of beads (used for the party craft) onto the carpet.

A good time was had by all.

Monday, December 7, 2009

It's painful

We were back at it this afternoon, trying again for a Christmas picture. This time I bribed them with chocolate and a TV show, and I got a slightly better response. Molly still just isn't into it.

We did have some fun, just not Christmas-picture-worthy fun.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Christmas picture torture

We began our seasonal disaster today with attempt #1 at Christmas pictures. The weather was gorgeous, so I got the kids dressed up and bribed them with chocolate. Josh did really well; the photo above sums up Molly's attitude. Here are some outtakes:

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving in the Panhandle

We had a lovely Thanksgiving this year at the Marriott hotel in Panama City Beach, where one of our cousins hosts Thanksgiving lunch.

The kids got a bit restless after we ate, so we let them watch a DVD on the floor and then headed out to the patio and pier outside the hotel.

She's in the DVD-watching zone; no time to smile

It's not hard to guess what happens next

Thankfully I had the forethought to anticipate such an event as one of my kids falling into the pond, and I had a clean clothes and shoes in my bag. Molly quickly got over her trauma, although we provided plenty of entertainment for the diners at the Marriott.

Before we left for the beach, we took a family picture with my grandmother at her farm. Granny turned 91 this month!

Friday, November 20, 2009


We just got back from a very quick trip to Nantahala, N.C., to visit Shelley and her family, who were spending a week with Shelley's extended family in the mountains. They graciously allowed us to cram into the cabin with them and add to the chaos.

We took the kids on a hike yesterday in the Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest. Josh walked Zoe, the Cullums' lab, and amazingly there was no complaining this time. I'm afraid we're going to have to get our own dog soon!

Molly, Josh and Alex before the hike

Josh, who loves to be in charge, became sort of a nature guide on our hike, stopping to loudly point out things like "green leaves" and a "big rock." Maggie was very tolerant of his continuous stream of pointing out the obvious, only occasionally turning around to roll her eyes.

We had a picnic after our hike, and then our outing abruptly ended when Josh walked over to the creek to throw some rocks and fell in. The next thing I knew, he was walking around in his underwear and shirt. We quickly loaded the cars up and left!

We had a major first at the cabin when Josh and Molly decided they wanted to sleep on the same pull-out couch. It was cute when they fell asleep curled up together, but unfortunately that happened hours after we turned out the lights and it meant they were right there to wake each other up at 6:15 the next morning.