Sunday, November 27, 2011

Still catching up, Chicago!

So bad at this lately--working on Christmas projects too. I'll get there someday.
Close to Halloween the boys finally learned how to ride their bikes without training wheels. We had tried a couple of times before but I have to admit, it's not fun to fall--so it was hard for them. That afternoon the boys really wanted to try again, so I took the training wheels off and held the back of their bikes in one hand and a fussy baby in the other arm (my back was so sore the next day) and off we went. It seems like Carter got it first, but Davis soon after. It was a typcial learning process, they got 5 feet and fell, then 10 feet, then all of a sudden they made it all the way to the end of the street. It took a while before they learned how to stop--meaning not just fall over and even longer to figure out how to start (probably 2 weeks there where they propped themselves at the top of the driveway between 2 garbage cans to get going) but now they are just all over. And they LOVE their bikes. That is what they want to be doing if it is light and warm enough out to be doing it. And they love to ride to school, even if it means they are almost there by the time Claire and I catch up to them. They are even starting to do tricks, putting both feet up on the center bar, putting one foot back to rub on the back tire, jumping the front wheel (a very little bit). They are so funny. But hey, bike time for hours means not driving me crazy or sitting in front of a TV, so win.


And then there's Miss Claire! This shot was my attempt to catch her cute hair, she wasn't having it. She's not so much into the camera, besides being allowed to play with it. Oh this little girl is full of it. She's 14 months now and into everything. I can't believe how busy she is. The other day she climbed a tall barstool and walked around on the kitchen counter. She has already climbed out of her crib, but it wasn't at its lowest setting yet, so she is stuck in there, for now. She is always into the dogs food and water and worst of all the toilet. Ick, what is so fascinating about that? I wish it was warmer so I could put her outside with the water table, but definitely not the season for it right now (we have been stuck below freezing for days). And she knows her mind too. She has been picking up on signs which helps us know what she wants but also means we should have to respond to her requests in her little mind. She knows, milk, all done, eat, fish, and shoes. And her verbal words are mama, dada, bubba (for brothers), fish (issssh), dog (da), yay, hi, and ow (as she is pulling your hair). She loves to talk, even if we can't tell what she is saying. I need to get a video of it. She really is entertaining. I can complain about busy gal but I am also totally nuts about her. We all love her so much. Even if I have to pull dog food out of the bath tub before I can add water or if she dives into the tub with her clothes on when it isn't her turn. She is all girl too, I can't believe I have one like that! She loves to have on neckaces and bracelets and lately she has been all about shoes. She will find a pair she wants, sign shoes, and then sit down and lift her foot up. And you better respond! She wears her snow boots a lot out, I promise--it was her request. She almost wore them to church Sunday but in the car I was able to sway her to the church shoes. Such a funny little thing!


So, mid-November I went to the Chicago area for a 4 day training on a new analyzer we have at work. What an adventure for me! I don't travel much, especially alone. It went okay though, lot of prayers answered. I thought I would have so much down time, I brought 2 books and lots of work to do, but nope, ended up actually being quite busy. And most of it really was sitting in class. But I liked learning about my instrument and it is incredibly pertinent knowlege (unlike a lot of other classes I have had, err Calculus). It felt a lot like college again, but for older people. And with better food. I had my own hotel room with 2 beds (10 pillows!) which was restful I must say. I took a long shower everyday just because. We had a buffet breakfast at the hotel each morning (yumm, hot cooked breakfast--that I didn't cook and wouldn't have to clean up after, score!). Then I would head off to class and get a drink. We'd be in the classroom for an hour or so and then go to the lab. We'd have a morning break, more class, then lunch (catered soups/sandwiches most days--they had Panera Bread there, yum), more class, an afternoon break with cookies, more class then back to the hotel. The first night they took us to an Italian restaurant with 4 courses served family style, so much good food. And everyone was drinking a lot of wine which is always entertaining to me. There was lovely conversation with my fellow techs I must say, lab techs are their own type of person and we all had a lot in common, so plenty to talk about. And there were some really nice people there from all over the country and from quite varied sizes of hospitals. I was certainly from one of the smallest, but the folks in my actual class were also from small hospitals since they were training on the same machine. Anyway, the second night I joined up with a group going into the city (it took about an hour by train from where we were to Chicago). I could have just rested, but hey, I may never be there again and it was a free trip!
At Union station
Lame me at the bottom of the Willis (formerly Sears) tower
View from the top--that elevator ride was trippy, 103 floors in 60 seconds. My ears popped, I was really dizzy and nauseous the whole time I was that high. Not a huge heights fan.
And here's me out on the sky ledge, an all glass balcony you can step out onto. I was so freaked out! I am holding onto the wall with one hand and I couldn't look down. It was cool too, but scary.
Looking through my feet (with my heels securely on the main part of the building).
Then we had Chicago style pizza at a famous place there. It was really good, and differently assembled, I think it was crust, then meat, then cheese (lots), more crust, then sauce on top.
Then we hiked over to see the Bean. It's just a weird sculpture at Millenium Park. I don't know, but it was cool. Very shiny and reflective. Then we hustled back to catch our train, then a taxi (my first one!) and back to the hotel after midnight--with class again at 8. It was worth it though and I had a good time with all the people that went.
The third night we went to a mall and I got a few things for the kids and the last night we were at the airport. I got a lovely pat down when my breastmilk flagged as explosive (??) and they took my snow globe--didn't realize those were banned :(. And the flights both ways were quite tight and uncomfortable and far too long. I hate flying. Anyway, good trip except for a few hiccups and a nice change of pace for me. I was still VERY glad to be home to my family. Lowell picked me up and we went to dinner (he took the week off and stayed with the kids, what a trooper right?!) and then I met up with my mom, dad, and sister for the midnight showing of Breaking Dawn. I'm so lame, and the movie wasn't my favorite. I smiled through the first half--so happy, and cringed through the second half. I think some things are better left to the imagination.



Home again I caught some more fun shots of all my kids, furry and human alike. :)

Claire Berry
Maxwell
Maddy
Oscar
C&D (riding to the park with the lab goggles I brought them home).
Claire will now take herself down the slide, and she loves it!
Cuties
Davey
Big C




So that's up to date as far as the photos I have brought over so far goes. Still to come Thanksgiving and Dutch Christmas. I hope you are all enjoying your holiday season so far. :)

Halloween . . .delayed

So this blog has been woefully neglected. I have been just crazy busy at home and work and have set aside my journaling needs for other pressing matters. Hoping to catch up here some. I won't pretend to remember what we have done week to week, just know we were busy as usual and visited most of our pass places.
Here's our Claire baby's 12 month pics No I refuse to take any more lying down pics with the bunny.
Sis with her bear and bunny--I plan to measure her year to year against the bear and wanted the bunny as a reference mark.
That's more like her, giggling as she chases me trying to get the camera.
And she loves the phone!

We lived up Halloween pretty heartily this year, here the kiddos are at Barnyard Boo (Thanksgiving Point--free for members, bonus!). This was one of the first days too so the kids got totally loaded with prizes and candy. A later trip wasn't as fruitful, but still fun.
We took Daddy over to see the new Christ statues too, I love it.

The boys had fun with Crazy hair day, care of Red Ribbon Week. They also had a commit to be drug free sign up list and the one with the most entires in each class won. Thanks to Daddy and some of the Jr High teachers who passed it around the classes, the boys both won little prizes. They were so excited.

The weather stayed fairly mild throughout October so we took a chance to catch a few hikes we had missed in the summer during the UEA break. Here we are seeing Donut Falls, really a lovely little hike (and isn't Lowell super Dad!).

Then we made it to our first summit (finally, 3rd time we tried to get there due to road issues), Buffalo Peak

What a gorgeous view! Not a bad hike either, a little steep at the end but we all made it.

Veni Vedi Vici

Lots of Cornbelly visits, including one with our buddy/cousin C


That visit even including trick or treating--they scored!
And we had a bridal shower for Hillary at Sweet Tomatoes--I think it went pretty well. I am not the best planner (/brides maid) but we all had fun and ate well.
We carved pumpkins of course. No one wanted to help Daddy with the guts except for the dogs. :)











Another gardens visit, that time with my mom, here's Carter "introducing" Claire to Jesus.
We had a lovely zoo visit one night, it was a little chilly but also almost vacant and the animals were so active and interactive. Claire was so into it.





More Cornbelly's, we went each Friday morning and my mom was kind enough to come along. This was called the spelunking cave, way too claustrophobic to go in myself but the kids enjoyed working their way through 5 levels.


I had the great idea of going to the Stringtown Halloween train. It's a free train a neighborhood puts on and we have been before and they enjoyed it.This time we weren't able to get there before dark--after dark is more scary and the kids didn't really love it. We may let them grow up a little before we go again.


Gem mining at Cornbelly's--I think we went 6-7 times in the month with our pass.






Inside the inflatable "beast"
Closing day at the gardens (sob)



Good night, until Spring!

Traditional caramel apple night (with Hillary and Todd)--so yummy!

Halloween day we had some fun foods--rotten eggs and milk for breakfast.

The Halloween parade at school







And our family pic--for posterity's sake, we are the Angry Birds, a popular phone app game. I (gasp!) sewed all the costumes myself from a tutorial I found online. Don't look too close. I'm just glad they survived the night.













After trick or treating--we went out for a long time this year--look how full their bag/2 buckets are. Claire stuck it out the whole time with us too, but she was beat. We also trick or treated both of the grandmas houses.

Jello brains

The loot--and yes, we're not close to finishing it and it's December. So, there's the Halloween wrap-up, it really was a fun month. Good weather, lots of family time. And here's Davis with the pledge of allegiance. :)


video