Blake turns 3!

Blake celebrated his 3rd birthday yesterday! We spent the day reminding him that he was 3, not because he thought he was still 2 but would give varying answers of his age ranging from 5 to 8.  He definitely thinks he’s as big as his brothers!

He sat on the couch and closed his eyes while Andrew brought in his gift.


Then we took it right outside for a ride!


This bike is only slightly bigger than his Strider and he took off down the driveway immediately! We’re working on using the hand brake instead of just his feet.

Blake requested yellow cake with chocolate icing which also happens to be Daddy’s favorite so that pleased him for Father’s Day. He wanted Heatwave on his cake in ‘bot mode’ and I obliged.




Kathleen was in town and played in the water with the kids.


Blake chose pizza for dinner and everyone was happy for the evening!


Market Day for Andrew

A month ago, Andrew came home from school with instructions for his first major school project. He was to prepare a “store” to sell a good or service to his classmates on Market Day.  Economics is part of the curriculum so this is their near-real life experience as producers and consumers.  Andrew’s first idea was to have a service where people come to shoot a basketball.  We discussed some other ideas, looked online, etc. and nothing else struck his fancy. Literally, he was interested in absolutely nothing else.  He said he wanted to provide a service so he couldn’t run out of his product.  I thought that was pretty clever thinking! Minimal money was supposed to be spent on this project, per directions from his teacher.

Derek and Andrew spent a Saturday morning brainstorming and pulling out different pieces of lumber left over from the playhouse construction.  Andrew has an over the door indoor basketball hoop so that was a good start; he just needed something to hang it on.

After a little experimenting they came up with a stable design and got to work.


Blake had to get in on the action too.




The final product:


The only funny thing is that it turned out looking like a cross but it served its purpose nicely. He put the sign for his business on the top.

The morning of Market Day, Derek helped him haul this contraption to school and they put a piece of tape down to mark the shooting line.  He charged $3 per shot and gave $1 back to anyone who made it.

Here he is with the setup at school.  (He enjoyed a roller skating birthday party over the weekend but his wrist wasn’t so sure, thus the brace.)

20160525_123221552_iOSHe had fun and said he made way more money than he spent! Parents weren’t allowed once the school day started so we didn’t get to witness his store in action.

Madelyn 18 months

Madelyn is 18 months old today! It was our last day of “just us girls” until the Fall so we had ourselves a mini photo shoot.

She wasn’t quite sure what to do with the sign. When I told her to go get it, she looked at me funny and made the sign language sign for “sign”. I understand her confusion!


Hiding behind the bushes in the front yard is her new favorite spot! She’s also usually chasing the bunnies back there but we didn’t find any today.


There was no posing – this was all her!



So, 18 months!  Madelyn communicates with a combination of a few words, some sign language and pointing. We usually get along pretty well and can figure out what she wants.  Her jabber has started sounding more like real words, they just aren’t words we can understand yet. She loves to play outside and has recently taken an interest in the plasma car and tricycle and can maneuver them all the way down the driveway. Now we have to work on stopping to turn around at the end of the driveway.

She loves to watch her brothers play but doesn’t often get in the middle of their play unless it involves hide and seek under some blankets.  Madelyn loves to read and to be read to, even the truck and dinosaur books. When I sit down to read to her, if a brother comes along to sit and listen she often tries to push them away. If I’m reading to one of the boys, she climbs in my lab and shoves a book in my face to try to redirect my attention.  We’re working on that! She is trying to mark her territory I suppose.

The words “do you want to watch Baby Signing Time?”  Bring boundless smiles, giggles, and she dashes to her little perch on the ottoman as fast as she can.  I love that these little DVDs buy me 25 minutes to fix dinner or just have her occupied.

Madelyn loves her “loveys” and found the stash in her dresser drawer so we had to move them. I’m fine with 2 in her bed at a time but she doesn’t need 5 or 6.  However, it’s wonderful to have them as backup! She still sucks her thumb but only when she has her lovey and she sleeps and naps well. She is a pretty good trooper when I have to wake her from her nap several times per week to go pick up brothers from school, although that isn’t a daily occurrence thanks to Derek working from home more!

Andrew’s First Communion

About a week ago Andrew told me “I’m just ready to get it [First Communion] over with!”  We have been talking about and preparing for it at home and in his weekly class at church for 5 months so he was just ready to do it!

We had a joyful celebration with a beautiful day and family.

After Mass when he went to get a picture with Fr. Larry, Father was talking to him about the apostle Andrew and the role he had in the Gospel reading for the day.


We came back to the house for hamburgers (as Andrew requested).



Andrew and his Godmother.






I had fun digging out my and Derek’s 1st Communion pictures as well as Andrew’s baptism picture.  The chalice and paten are from Derek’s and my wedding. We tried to allow Andrew to use them at Mass today but unfortunately our huge parish wasn’t able to accommodate.  I had fun composing a slide show from Andrew’s 1st 8 years of life that we played on the TV and provided loads of entertainment during dinner.


We are thankful for the family and friends who were with us in Spirit! As Anna said, “see you in the Eucharist!”

Stillwater Getaway

Earlier in the month we took a last minute trip to Stillwater. It started because Pete wanted the boys to help him “distress some wood” he’s using in the house they’re remodeling.  We had a hard time finding a place to stay and then Andrew was sick so we weren’t sure we’d be able to make the trip but by Friday morning everything fell into place.  We took the kids out of school for the day and headed north.

The highlight of our car ride was seeing a cropduster at work.  It was amazing to see how acrobatic he was doing his job!

I was really impressed to see the changes in the house. It is looking awesome as they update it 60+years.

The boys all banged on some wood and I think Derek had more fun than any of them beating up a board with chains and burning it.


We of course played on and took some rides with Buddy Jr who currently lives a few blocks away at Uncle Zack’s house.  Anna came over to see us too! It was our last time to see her in Stillwater before she graduates and moves away. We will sure miss that extra sweetness of getting to see her there!



We lucked in to a 3 bedroom cabin generously offered to us for the weekend.  The only catch, no furnishings. So we brought air mattresses and camped out.  I enjoyed this view I woke up to.


Saturday we didn’t have any specific plans but we ended up with a fun-filled and busy day. We started by visiting 1 of the 2 huge transformers in town. The boys are really interested in these characters right now so they were quite amazed to see these huge structures.




We went to the house to find Pete and he said we needed to go to the airport because there was apparently a fly-in today. He had been watching a multitude of WWII era planes fly in.  Madelyn and I hung back to play at the park but the boys got to climb in and around lots of planes and enjoyed every bit of it!


We made it to campus as well which is my favorite part but somehow always cut short (in this case by naptime).  The boys know which building is the library but after Andrew asked, “are there really books in there?” it was time to take him on a tour.  I showed him my favorite quiet study room which is still as magnificent as I remember!  Then we went up a few floors to find the actual books at his request.


There is a little any-age playground in front of the library which was ohh so fun for everyone!



During quiet time, Andrew needed a book but hadn’t packed one. Lucky for him (and me!) I grabbed 2 books out of the Ronald Dahl collection I recently found at Costco. I had already started The BFG and gave him Matilda. He wasn’t sure he’d like it but since it was the only option he devoured it and tried his hardest to finish his book before I finished mine. Little stinker, he alllmost succeeded but not quiet.  When we got home we traded books. I love getting to discuss books with him and it doesn’t happen as often as I’d like due to my time constraints, his fast reading and varied interests.

Mass at St. John’s was neat because I hadn’t been to Mass there in a number of years.  On previous trips we have attended St. Francis, the other Catholic church in town.  The strangest thing about it was there were only about 35 people there.  At our huge parish at home with a church that seats 1500, this was quite a change but so nice and quaint.

We ended the day with a visit to the second transformer, Bumblebee.  These are at an auto body repair shop that has two locations in town and have become quite a tourist attraction.


Sunday morning the boys played with Pete and Gramma while Derek and I packed and loaded.  Connor and Blake found rocks to be the best toy.


Gramma offered to throw the football with Andrew and he of course couldn’t pass up that offer.  He was showing her how to trow a spiral.



Then we headed home with tired kiddos to get to Andrew’s afternoon soccer game.  For an impromptu trip with very little planning we had a most wonderful time. It was very refreshing to me to get away and just have relaxed playtime for a few days.  Stillwater is such a lovely place and there’s always different, fun things to do there. We’re happy Pete and Gramma now call it home!




Happy Easter!

Our Easter morning celebrations began early with the boys digging into their Easter baskets.  IMG_8633

There were eggs hidden all over but we wouldn’t let them hunt until Madelyn woke up. During breakfast they kept spotting eggs in silly places and Connor especially got so tickled at the funny places he saw them like on top of a cup or with the bananas.  The joy he finds in little things is quite contagious! After some breakfast we let them loose in the hunt for eggs. They were all smiles before the hunt.


But then they weren’t so sure after a little reprimanding from arguing over who found the egg first.  By this point Blake abandon the egg hunt in favor of having the Lego table to himself.


And then this little one woke up to check out her basket.


Bunny gummies first thing in the morning?!?! What could be better?



Cousins Keaton and Tatum came over to play later in the morning then we had yummy lunch with them and Janice and Larry.

Janice prepared another egg hunt for all the kids.



After all the excitement, we all had naps and then went to church at 5 in the evening. We got there early to take pictures with the hope that everyone would cooperate a little better. However, we ended up with a bunch of outtakes and not really any great pics. However, they do show some personality!  It turned out to be a beautiful, sunny day but the bright sun didn’t help the pictures.

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Ohh well, we tried!

Christ is Risen! Alleluia!

Update: I found this little gem from Derek’s phone. Apparently she decided to cooperate better for a picture when Daddy took her outside during Mass because she wouldn’t be still or quiet.