Tuesday, March 31, 2009

They got their exercise today...

We met one of my high school friends and her children at an indoor inflatable play place today. There were 10 inflatables there for the kids to jump around in, and that's what they did, for about 2 hours. This picture was taken when we were about ready to go home. Look at Seth...he obviously was moving the WHOLE TIME.

Evan thought that he was one of the big dogs, and therefore tried and did most of what his older brothers and sister did. That boy, unfortunately, has no fear. I tried several times, unsuccessfully, to explain to him that he is TWO. He failed to see what age had to do with it.

While Dave was driving home from work today, there was a huge rainstorm. As soon as he came home, the sun came out while it was still raining. That's when we found this BEAUTIFUL full double rainbow. It was gorgeous, and we, along with many of our nieghbors, went outside to marvel at it. Caroline, especially, was amazed. Evan was mostly excited that it brought his good friend, Ryan, outside. :)

Monday, March 30, 2009

Things I love about Henry

I love his brown-hazel eyes. They remind me of his father's.
I love his sense of humor (most of the time!). And I love his laugh that goes along with it. It makes me happy. :)
He is a very good friend...fun, sharing, caring. And he has very good friends that we all enjoy.
He's kind and polite.
He's a good big brother, plays with his brothers and sister well most of the time :), and is more and more setting a good example for his siblings to follow.
He's very patient with and gets such a kick out of his littlest brother.
He's a wonderful reader, and really enjoys his books.
He's passionate about his interests, from volcanoes and dinosaurs to the Iditarod.
I'm proud of him.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

I think March has this wrong.

Isn't it "In like a lion, out like a lamb"? That's what I thought.
Yup, it was one of our first days of spring break, and this is what we got...6 inches of snow. Click on this to see what we were doing a week ago...Hard to believe, isn't it?!

9 children: 8 boys, 1 girl...

...all in our house last night. Don't worry--Caroline held her own. We had some friends over for pizza last night. They just had their fifth boy! It was a busy house, to say the least. :) I do believe the kids had a blast.

At one point, I went upstairs to check on the kids, and while the older kids were watching a movie, I found the two year olds taking turns spinning each other on the computer chair. I was wondering what the giggling was all about! Then they both wanted to sit together, so I gave them a spin myself.

The kids were so worn out from last night that they ALL slept in until 7:30, including our youngest who usually likes to get a 5:30 or 6:00 start to his day. In our house, everyone sleeping until 7:30 is a miracle.

Friday, March 27, 2009

She's talked about it all week...

...and finally her big day arrived...the day she got to wear her pajamas to school!!! She brought her sleeping bag, stuffed animals, and pillow. She was even able to make a new pillowcase. When she got home, she and Evan played sleepover to their heart's content in the livingroom.

Dave and I went out for a date night tonight. We saw Slumdog Millionaire...great movie!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

My Three Sons

I am so proud of these boys! The older two came home with wonderful report cards, improving in all areas we had focused on. Henry's teacher actually wrote, "Yahoo, Henry!" in the comment section! Love that!

So, I wanted to take a picture of Henry and Seth with their report cards before Seth left for cub scouts...of course, Evan wanted to be a part of it, in all his lasagna-faced, training pants glory. I'm proud of our youngest too. He continues to do a fabulous job potty training. And lest you think that I am not proud of our daughter today, I am, very much so. She was an excellent gardener's helper/worm collector this afternoon.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Dinosaurs, dinosaurs, dinosaurs!

This boy is all about dinosaurs...

Evan was playing in his room while I was cleaning the kids' bathroom. I went to check on him, and this is what I found him doing...sharing his favorite dinosaur book and a baby bottle with his frog puppet.

Its fun to watch his imaginary play develop. He was having his dinosaurs play hide and seek today...in Caroline's dollhouse!

His favorite shirt is the one that has a t-rex on it, compliments of his Uncle Mark and Aunt Nacibe. Oftentimes, it comes out of the dryer and right on to him.

Last, but not least, he finds it quite funny to have his dinosaurs use the toilet. Its always good to have potty-trained dinosaurs.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Art Gallery by Caroline

Our sweet Caroline...she always has crayons or markers in hand...and the fun ideas she comes up with...and the sheer quantity of artwork she delivers on a daily basis...she amazes me, and makes me happy. Love that girl!

(Speaking of art, one of Henry's pictures that he did in art class at school was chosen for the district art fair! He was sooo excited, and made me write down the date for the fair in my calendar right away.)

I love the detail in this picture, the leaves on the tree, all the clouds, pumpkins (in the spring!), a little girl with rainbow hair, and even, if you look very closely, a worm in the dirt!
Rainbow hair is a recurrent theme in Caroline's pictures
I had to include this menu Caroline made for lunch yesterday. Her restaurant was offering PB&J, carrots with dip, chicken nuggets and ketchup, as well as "chips with little green things on them" because they are her favorite (sour cream and onion chips).

Potty training update:
Evan had another great day! He had two accidents, but also made it a couple of times too. Keys to his success today: Elmo juice boxes (such a find I made at Aldi, he loves them!), his "Where's Spot?" book (I think we read it at least 10 times today), and squirting Mommy with his water bottle (that kept him sitting for long stretches). He's very proud that he can pull his pants up and down all by himself, and can climb up on the potty all by himself. He's a big boy!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Tales from the Toilet

Everyone has been cheering Evan on in his potty training. At first Evan was hesitant to sit on the toilet. His brothers and sisters cheerfully sat on the potty first, saying that it was their turn. That would usually get Evan over his hesitation, and he would call out, "Evan's turn!" We've basically turned our downstairs bathtub into a library so that Evan has plenty of reading materials to peruse while sitting on his throne. Caroline has discovered that she likes to read in the bathtub now, so she's been good company to him. :) When he is tired of reading, we've let him play with a water bottle, his superheroes or his trains, anything to help him stay there a little longer and relax a bit.

Anyways, its working! He peed in the potty 2 times today!! We danced and cheered, and gave him the traditional offering of an M&M. He was beaming! We are so proud of our big boy!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

It was a busy day...

I think that it would have been tough to fit more in today.

The kids had a friend sleep over last night, so this morning we started by making pancakes and banana bread. The kids spent a lot of time outside making "campsites" in the tall grass behind our house, while I was watching them from inside so that I could work on potty training Evan. Dave (with some help from Henry and Seth) built some shelves in the garage, and between the afternoon and tonight after the kids went to bed, we've done a lot of organizing. While Evan napped, Caroline and I turned some of the mulch over in our garden.

We're tired, but feeling very good about what we got done.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Fun with Friends in the Forest

It was a simply GORGEOUS day!!! Dave took Henry, Seth and Caroline, as well as a couple of friends for a hike in the local forest preserve today. (I was at home while Evan napped.) They had such fun exploring, climbing, and clowning for the camera! Who knew my husband was such a photographer?!

Friday, March 20, 2009

A funny little story

Just before we got home from picking Caroline up at preschool, I started singing "Sweet Caroline" by Neil Diamond to her. "Sweet Caroline, ba, ba, ba..." They both sang along. Evan especially liked that second part, so much so that as I was unbuckling him he said, "Ba, ba, ba" again. So I took it that he wanted me to sing again. So I did.

He responded, "NO! I want 'Sweet Evan!'" No kidding.

The boy wants his own theme song.

And, by the way, whose brilliant idea was it to give them markers to color with?! I admit it...that would be me...Don't worry, they were washable, the markers and the children, and thank God for that! I think more color went on them than the paper!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

She is a sponge!

Caroline is becoming quite the computer whiz and quite the reader! She sometimes gets to play on a website called "starfall.com". One of my friends had recommended it to us, and it really has been such a good resource for us to use to help her with her reading. She can read books online, play reading games, work on phonics...I'm a huge fan and I know she is too! It is amazing to watch my baby become so computer savvy.

We saved all of Seth's paper books and reading games from Kindergarten, and we have them in a basket in her room. We've been letting her choose a couple each night to read to us. She is so proud of her progress, and that is very sweet to behold!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


So...its been 11 days since I've given up caffeine! (I do miss my chai latte!) You know, you have to celebrate small victories. 11 days ago, I started working out, and made it 3 whole days before my sciatica started acting up again. I can't work out again until it subsides. Truthfully, I was a little bummed, but I tried to let it inspire me to be healthy in other ways. Hence, no caffeine. Now that I'm past the caffeine withdrawal headaches, I'm actually feeling pretty good! And I'm even on a little diet.

The house is coming together too...closets are ready for spring and summer, clothes ready to pass on to family and to donate...we moved the kids into their bathroom...I gathered some more books and toys to give to AmVets...come to think of it, our house has been on a diet too! I have definitely noticed we are more efficient. The kids are doing more in terms of chores now, maybe because things make more sense in terms of organization. We are going in the right direction.

And now, because you might expect something more than a mug and an empty chai tea container, here's a video of what amounts to Evan chasing his tail. (The kids had just helped me clean up the playroom!)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


What a gorgeous St. Patrick's Day!!! I love spring...it has to be my favorite season. I know that we'll have more cold weather, but how fabulous that more of this warm weather is going to be coming our way!

After school, and after naps, we all headed outside to soak in the sunshine. The older boys headed out to the pond to "fish", explore, and throw rocks in the water. The younger ones headed right for the sandbox, digging in, getting nice and dirty, and generally having a wonderful time. The older ones didn't want to be left out of good, sandy fun, so they joined in. There was also a lot of sliding and swinging going on. We've all missed this.

Henry and Seth at the pond
Seth and Evan going down...
down! Weeeee!!!
Seth in motion
How many Noseks can you fit into a sandbox?
Evan bringing a "birthday cake," complete with candles, to Caroline
Evan served Caroline quite a large portion of cake!
I think I know where Evan will be when the weather's warm!


Ever since we had Seth's cub scout den meeting at our house in December, Henry has had a nickname amongst the first graders. Apparently, Henry was wearing a Santa hat that day, and one of the cub scouts called him "Santa." No big deal, right? Well, it caught on, with many of the kids in Seth's class wanting to be part of the joke. Luckily, Henry finds it funny.

Last night at Seth's music performance, Seth chose Henry to be a part of a group dance. Sure enough, I heard a few of the first graders chime in "Santa!" Ahh, first grade humor...

Here's the dance...enjoy!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Seth's Big Night

We all went to school tonight to watch our Seth in his 1st Grade music program. He did such a good job...Here's Seth in action...

Here's a picture of all four kids. They all were sitting together on the risers, just hanging out. Perfect photo opp.!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Its official...

...our daughter is now registered for Kindergarten. She is thrilled, although a little confused that she is still going to preschool tomorrow. :) Part of the registration is an assessment, and Seth's former preschool teacher did Caroline's. She was so impressed with all this little girl knows, and deemed her a "very smart cookie!"

McCap and the Spectacles

What a fun night! We went to a fundraising dinner dance for McCap (McHenry County Adult Program). My cousins' child, Megan, is in the program. A brief description from their website, "McCAP was founded in 2001 by a group of parents concerned with the lack of adult programming for their recently graduated children with mental and physical challenges." Its a great cause...I've provided the link if you want to check it out. The Spectacles, including my cousin Pat, played some excellent music, and lots of people got up to dance. But not Seth. He was too into his book. That boy has FOCUS!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Seth's Choice

Seth has been reading more and more lately, and I have been so pleased to watch this happen! For a while when he read, sometimes he would be excited about it and sometimes he would just do it because it was part of our daily routine. He does have an excellent role model in Henry, as that boy really gets into his books. Last night, I let the boys stay up to read as long as they wanted, knowing with as big as a day as they had yesterday, they wouldn't be able to stay up too late. However, I honestly don't know how long they read, because I fell asleep reading to Caroline :).

First thing this morning, Seth came downstairs, and this is how I found him on the couch. Not watching TV, not asking for breakfast. He just wanted to curl up on the couch and read.
I am very proud of him, of all of the progress he is making. I am excited that he seems to be developing a love of reading, and I know that will make his journey in school a more successful one.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

A Future Entemologist?

This boy would like to show you the ladybug that he found...Looks like he might be following after Grandpa Orton...

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Time is flying...

Its hard to believe that the two little 1 1/2 year old girls in this picture...
...have become the two 5 year old pirates in this picture. How does this happen? (They had a fabulous time making Henry and Seth's beds into a pirate ship, and seriously spent a good part of the afternoon looking for lost treasure, defending their ship, and reading secret messages from the "great pirate Lucinda". :) Not sure where that came from.)

This Saturday we are signing Caroline up for Kindergarten. It doesn't seem right. She just started preschool. I am sure of it. And we just signed Henry up for Kindergarten. That can't be 4 years ago. I have a sneaking suspicion that I will blink and it will be Evan's turn.