Monday, January 20, 2014

Mommy/Daughter/Niece Date at the AG Doll Store

When Teya got her new Kanani Doll for Christmas I promised I would take her and Brinley to the American Girl Doll store in downtown Chicago to get their doll's hair done and have a girls day out. I knew that being super duper pregnant would make the outing somewhat challenging, but I also knew that it would be even harder with a baby, so 5 days before Nori was born, I dropped Cam off with Auntie Naomi, picked up Brooklyn, and took the girls downtown. 

 They were so happy and excited to be there!

We started off with some snacks at the cafe

 And enjoyed chatting and having girl time 
(Photo cred goes to Brooklyn for this pic, not bad for a 5 year old!)

We spent the afternoon checking out all the adorable (and ridiculously expensive) American Girl doll accessories with a museum like approach, (look, don't touch, cuz money doesn't grow on trees people!) Luckily the girls didn't care that we weren't buying anything, they were just happy to be together. 

And to discover neat things like the doll holders in the bathrooms. (Brinley seriously thought those were the coolest things ever.)

The highlight though was taking their dolls to the doll hair salon.

They watched with rapt attention as their dolls got fancy new dos.

 I, of course, could have done the dolls hair for free... but somehow it's just not as cool when Mommy does stuff. :) 
They also exchanged the shirts Grandma Karen got them for Christmas for sizes that fit a little better, so with new shirts and fancy doll hair they were all feeling pretty awesome. 

And I guess I was feeling a little awesome too, for braving frigid weather, Chicago traffic, and hours of waddling around a doll store 9 months pregnant. It was all worth it to see these smiles. Love these cute girls with all my heart!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Big Mama at the Bulls game!

The last week of pregnancy isn't my favorite. I get so big and uncomfortable and pretty much just feel like hibernating in my pajamas and avoiding all contact with the outer world.  But a week before Nori was born Taber scored some tickets to a Bulls game, and that was exciting enough to convince big mama to put on some clothes and get out of the house. 
The weather outside was frightful, but inside the Untied Center was one big party.

 It felt so good to be out of the house! I even let the Chicago Bull take a photo op with Big Mama.

Those Bulls put on a good show, when the flying bull blimp started cruising around the arena I was like, "This is awesome!"
 Naomi and Kevin came with us and we had a good old time. The Bulls were destroying the 76ers, so there wasn't a question of whether or not they would win, but they have a deal with McDonalds that if the Bulls score over 100 points, everyone at the game gets a free Big Mac! When the score starting climbing into the 90's the whole crowd started chanting, "BIG MAC! BIG MAC!!" Every basket they scored set the crowd on fire as we got one point closer to greasy goodness on a bun. With seconds to spare, the Bulls sunk the last basket that tipped us over 100. The whole arena exploded!!

The cheerleaders ran laps with giant Big Macs on a stick. Everyone was going NUTS!! It was awesome!

Totally worth shedding my pajamas and getting out of the house!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Camden Turns 3!!

In January our little Cammer turned 3!
This was a a pretty big birthday for him because when you turn 3 you graduate from the early intervention program.

The Friday before his birthday he said goodbye to his amazing occupational and speech therapists, Ms. Karen and Ms. Allie. I definitely shed some tears saying goodbye to these wonderful women. Ms Allie especially had a huge impact on his life. She gave him his first words, and opened the door to communication for him. She taught him to say "Mama," and "Yes!" and "help!" Those words did not come easy, she worked with him for months, but the first time he said them we jumped for joy. She truly loved him, and he knew it. 

 With the early intervention program behind him, Cam's next step was to continue his therapy through the school district, so on his birthday, he started his first day of preschool!

Bus driver Ron came to our house to pick him up. He'd never gone anywhere without mama or daddy, so it was pretty hard loading him on that bus and waving goodbye!

I was so nervous that I actually followed the bus to the school so I could greet him when he got off. He was all smiles! Ron said he was singing the whole time!

His teacher Mrs. Juergens helped him off the bus and took him into his classroom.

I got a sneak peak before the kids got there and it looked like a a great place for learning. His class was the special education class, so there were only 6 kids and 3 teachers. He also would still have sessions with a speech and occupational therapists each day. 
After school his teacher called me to say he had a great first day! I couldn't be happier for our birthday boy. 

When he got home he took a nap, and then he woke up and discovered his birthday decorations which he was pretty excited about. He kept shouting, "IT'S THOMAS!!"

When Daddy came home from work we played pin the whistle on Thomas.

Then we had birthday cake and ice cream

It was a simple celebration but perfect for Cam. He doesn't like big crowds or lots of noise so a cozy family party was just how he likes it. 

Besides, his cake had a Thomas the Train on top…What more could he ask for? :)

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Igloo 2.0 The Chicago Edition

At the beginning of January I sent Taber out to shovel the sidewalks, but when I looked at the window a little later I saw this:
It had been 3 years since his last igloo, and Taber was itching to build one again.

Sadly a polar vortex came through the next day bringing sub 40 degree temps that lasted for over a week. Finally when things warmed back up into the teens we called up the Hanks and the Jaynes families and invited them over for a Saturday of igloo building. 

Big mama (aka me) made yummy cinnamon rolls for everyone, and then they got to work!

 Taber's friend Robert had an actual igloo building tool that made the work a lot easier. 

With three grown men and an army of kids, things went pretty quickly!

These little snow bunnies even decided to build a little snow cave of their own.

 After about 3 hours the igloo was done!

 A pic from inside shows that it was a pretty solid structure.

After Robert's family left, Taber and Kevin decided to make some snow blocks to build a better entryway. 

And once they started making blocks for the entryway they figured why stop there! The next thing I knew they were building ANOTHER igloo, without the tool, old school block by block style.

 This time the work was harder and slower, but they kept at it.

 4 hours later, structure 2 was done.  
They put the last blocks on in the dark but they finished, tired, cold, and pretty darn proud of themselves. 

Turns out 7 hours of hard labor in the cold snow was pretty therapeutic for this Alaska boy. He was tired and sore but completely rejuvenated when it was done.  Now we know how to deal with the winter blues next year…igloo therapy :)

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

New Years 2014!

Our New Years eve was pretty low key this year since we had just gotten back from Arizona and mama was big and prego.

The kids jumped on the trampoline with Daddy

And took the longest bubble bath ever

They didn't get out until all their fingers and toes were wrinkly raisins.

 Then we ate takeout from Chipotle

And played Just Dance Kids on the Wii

At "midnight" (around 9pm) The kids banged on pots and pans to ring in the new year.

 Then we took the first family selfie of 2014. :) It was the perfect night with my favorite people.

 On New years Day we were greeted with a fresh blanket of snow

 Taber put the girls to work shoveling the sidewalks. 

 They're pretty good helpers :)

Then they went sledding and came home for hot cocoa. Not a bad start to a New Year!