Sunday, January 31, 2010

Happy Birthday, Grandpa Nosek!

What a fabulous Saturday!! We went over to my in-law's house to celebrate Dave's dad's birthday. I was too busy to eat lunch before we left, and that was a very good thing. My sister-in-law and mother-in-law made the most wonderful appetizers and meal for us...bruschetta, mozzerella and tomatoes, beef stroganoff, bok choy salad and fruit salad. They are amazing cooks. I'm still stuffed!

The kids loved all of the food, but they expecially loved all of the presents Grandpa got for his birthday. Their Grandpa is definitely a kid at heart. Alongside some shirts and socks (which he jokingly tossed over his shoulder in disgust), he also got a few toys, some of which he shared with his grandchildren. :)

Here's a picture of Grandpa with almost all of his grandchildren. Poor Nadia was home with the stomach flu. Vika is pregnant with the youngest grandson. To top it all off, my mother-in-law made her delicious carrot cake, a definite family favorite. Evan was very impressed with the huge candle on top of the cake. He and Caroline graciously helped their grandpa to blow it out. :)

Happy birthday, Grandpa!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Pinewood Derby 2010!

Our cub scout pack had their pinewood derby tonight. The kids' cars looked great, and they ran pretty well. Henry's and Seth's cars got 11th place, and Caroline's car got 2nd place in the sibling's division. Way to go, kids!Henry with his good friends, Alex and Grant, before the start of their raceWe had "technical difficulties" in recording the boys's races, but we were able to right things with Caroline's race. Here she is waiting at the end of the track for her car to race. She was a little excited. :) Her car was fast! It's the pink one, "FLOWER POWER"!

Here she was when she found out that her car won 2nd place. She was a happy girl!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

PARTY at Barbie's townhouse tonight!

Because of my two sisters' generosity, Caroline's Barbie townhouse is well-stocked. After Karen had shared a lot of her dolls, clothes and accessories last month, Lisa and her daughters, Annie, Callie and Evie, just sent a fresh shipment of Barbies and Barbie cars today. Caroline was a happy little girl setting everything up today! Thanks Aunt Lisa (and Caroline's sweet cousins!) and Aunt Karen!

Seth's 1st Reconciliation

This was a big night for Seth. He had his first confession at our church. He was concerned before we left to go to the church which sin to confess to the priest, as he said he had many from which to choose. ;) However, he did a great job, and seemed so grown-up as he went by himself to confess to the priest. Two boys from Seth's school class made their 1st Reconciliation with him. Here's Seth by the First Penance Banner that hangs next to the altar. All of the 1st Reconciliation children's pictures are on it.
The children were responsible for making a candle that represents them. (Seth's was all about camping.) The candles were lit during the mass.
We're proud of you, Seth!

Who needs toys?

One FEATHER can keep this boy occupied. ;)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

While Seth was scouting tonight...

...what were the other three doing?

Henry was reading, as he has been non-stop for the past few days. He's reading the Gregor, the Overlander series like I read the Twilight series. He has a very hard time putting these books down to do mundane things like eating or sleeping. :)

Our other two? They were being armless firemen...
...and playing in the almost-completed playhouse that their Daddy made for them under the stairs. :)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Scouts, Scouts and More Scouts

Between yesterday and today, Henry, Seth and Caroline each had a scout meeting. I helped to lead Caroline's yesterday, and Dave led Seth's tonight at our house. With the meetings and finishing up the pinewood derby cars, I'm really not sure how we've fit anything else in. :) The pinewood derby race is Friday, and Henry, Seth AND Caroline all will be entering their own car. We're doing some SERIOUS scouting this week, and loving it!

The Daisy Scout squeeze

The Daisy Scout pledge

Seth and Dave working on a display case for his pinewood derby car
Seth sanding with his fellow scouts
All work and no play make for dull scouts...time for FUSSBALL!


When my cousins, Tom and Dianna, were over on Saturday, they were showing us pictures and telling us about their son Eric's graduation from basic training with the Marines. Our whole family is so proud of him! Tom and Dianna gave us a picture of Eric in his dress blues. When Caroline saw the picture, she started asking me questions about him. I told Caroline that Eric is a Marine now, and that he helps to protect us and our country.

She was very impressed, and wanted to draw a picture for him. Unfortunately, right now he doesn't have an address where we can send him anything, so I told her that we would try to send him the picture via our blog. The black and red figure at the top of the page is Eric, and Caroline wrote, "Caroline, to cousin Eric." She also drew a picture of her pinewood derby car to share with him. Apparently, it says, "Tik, tik, tik!" Here's a close up of Eric's picture (so handsome!)...and one last story to share. After I tucked Caroline into bed last night, I went downstairs to do a little clean up. After a few minutes, she came downstairs telling me that she was scared. Then she asked if she could bring Eric's picture into her room with her because he protects her. :) She then went right to sleep.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sunday Fun

While Dave and our oldest two sons are working on their Boy Scout pinewood derby cars, the younger two have been quite busy. They built a castle, and as you can tell, they were very proud of it. Then, while Evan napped, Caroline decorated our "Valentine Tree". Yesterday, my cousin brought this cute little kit to make Valentine ornaments for the kids. Thanks so much, Mary!! :) Caroline was counting down the minutes until she could work on making the ornaments, and was so pleased with the results.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

I love my cousins!

And I love being with them (and my mom, dad, sister and brother-in-law)! We are blessed with a very special family!

A SHOUT OUT to the Talking Frog!

My sister Lisa's family just started their own blog! I couldn't be more excited, and can't wait to see their pictures and read their stories!! If you'd like to go check out their blog, just click here.

Friday, January 22, 2010

I'm so PROUD...

...I could POP!

Our three oldest children came home with EXCELLENT report cards!!! I've been seeing a lot of progress in their school work, but it is so fun to celebrate the official report from their teachers. :) Things I am particularly excited about: Caroline's and Seth's reading has grown by leaps and bounds, Henry is becoming a math whiz, and all three of them had strong learner characteristics.

What more could a mom ask for?!

I've been booted.

Well, I've been booted at least for today.

I volunteer in Caroline's classroom every other Friday. It's so fun to see her in action, get to know her friends, and see what her class is up to. We both always look forward to it.

However, a couple of days ago, she asked if her dad could come in my place. A few of Caroline's friends' fathers have come in to help, and she really, really wanted her Daddy to come to her classroom too. When he said that he could come, Caroline was beside herself. :)
What I wouldn't give to be a little fly on the wall in her classroom to see how their afternoon goes. ;) Caroline's teacher, Miss Pierson, always keeps her volunteers very busy reading with the kids, helping with projects and activities, putting up and taking down bulliten boards, etc. It would be so fun to see him in action, and to see how proud Caroline is to have her dad in the classroom with her. However, I guess I'll just have to wait until they get home to get the play-by-play.
She does love her Daddy. Is it any wonder why?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Zippy & Company

About a week ago, Caroline and I saw that one of our fish had a baby. When we first saw him, he was so tiny, about the size of a grain of rice. When I dropped her off at kindergarten that day, we saw Henry in the hallway. She was so excited to share the news, and he seemed equally as excited to hear was a sweet little moment. :)

Our little baby fish, named Zippy by the kids, is doing so well, and has already doubled his size! I have been laughing at myself because I am nearly as excited about him as the kids are.

We are also feeling very protective. When the baby fish are small, there is always the chance that they will be eaten by the bigger fish. So, today Caroline, Evan and I went out to buy some plastic plants that he can hide in. We started cleaning the tank and putting the new plants in as soon as we got home. In the process, we found...

THREE NEW BABY FISH!!! Ok, so you may not be as excited as we were, but WOW were the kids thrilled! They are super tiny, so they must have been born a few days after Zippy. We're hoping that with the aid of the new nesting plants the new babies will survive. Cross your fingers for them, will you? ;)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Henry is a generous young man.

After getting his allergy shot booster, Henry wanted to swing by a store and buy a sweet little gift for his brothers and sister. Perhaps he was getting everyone ready for dental health month. Or maybe the real reason for his generosity was a joke that he was planning at dinner tonight. His Grandpa Nosek is a dentist, and Henry wants to everyone to wear their fake teeth to their next appointment. :)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Masterpiece Theater

With a lot of our focus on a sleepover, Evan's room and reupholstering chairs, our house was out of control. To say that the house was a mess is not a strong enough description. So, today we tackled it. The kids were home from school, so they helped out with some chores and entertaining Evan. But with mountains of laundry to do, decluttering and cleaning, we were at it for pretty much the whole day. As I was preparing dinner, my dear husband came out of his office to help out. Seeing that the kids were going a little stir crazy, this is what he came up with...

It was just what we needed...something novel for the kids to do, a little comic relief...thanks, Dave!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Literature Reading by Evan...

...highlighting Green Eggs and Ham

Checking things off the list

I have a "To Do" list. Many times it is very long. And many times there are items on that list that seem to take up permanent residence. I admit that I have a tendency to procrastinate.

But Dave and I were in the mood to check things off the list today, especially those jobs that have been on the list forever. Now, sitting here tonight, I am feeling tired, but extremely satisfied that we tackled so much today.

The rope is hung in Evan's room. The shelves are too.

We reupholstered 5 dining room chairs.

Finally, we reupholstered 10 kitchen chairs. As a mom of 4 young kids, I can't even begin to tell you how excited I am to have the stained fabric on our chairs replaced with easy-to-wipe-off vinyl.

Friday, January 15, 2010

We were feeling brave tonight...

We let Henry, Seth, and Caroline invite friends over for a sleepover tonight. We've got a house full, that's for sure. The noise level is pretty high, but so far the kids are having a good time. :)

I'll probably have more pictures and more happenings to report later, but for now, I thought I'd post this picture of the girls. Please pray for these's five boys against two girls for the night...

Pizza, root beer and popcorn...traditional fare at our sleepovers.
The food sustained and energized them in their play well into the night. Maybe too well...

Maybe much, much too well...

Really, I'm just being dramatic. They were actually very good. I think that in end, the night will have gone off without a hitch, especially if they actually fall asleep at some point. ;)

Update: The girls were asleep by 10:30, the boys by midnight, and the whole lot of them were up by 7:00. That's plenty of sleep, right?! Breakfast of cinnamon rolls, bacon, milk and juice got them ready for their next round of play. :)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Swimming Lessons Car Ride, the Musical

We travel about an hour round trip for swimming lessons. Truthfully, the kids entertain themselves by reading, playing their DSs or Leapster, and bugging each other most of the time. :) However, many times we also have a chance to talk, tell stories, and sing some silly songs. Tonight, we were all about singing.

My dad would often sing silly songs from his childhood to his three daughters and one son. He has an amazing voice, and sang all the time when we were growing up. It didn't matter where we were or what we were doing...sleeping, doing chores, driving, shopping in the grocery store, etc. :) I have many fond memories, and its such fun to share them with my kids.

So, tonight I was singing some of my favorites to the kids, telling the stories behind the songs. Henry especially liked this first one, Sweet Violets. I was unsure of all of the lyrics of the song, so when we got home tonight, we called my dad to ask him the rest of the words. He indulged us by singing the song over the phone. Thanks, Dad!

I can remember requesting these next two songs when I was about 5 years old, riding on top of my dad's shoulders walking through the Jewel Osco. My older sisters might have been slightly embarrassed by it, but I was young enough to eat it up. (I love the guy who sings this song here and the ambiance in this clip.)
Mairzy Doats

Chickery Chick

My dad is a very spiritual man. He especially loves hymns, and taught us a few of them. These two stand out in my memory, partly because of when they were sung.
This first one my dad would have us sing, in rounds :), while we were washing and drying dishes.
Angels We Have Heard on High

I remember this next song vividly. At the time, I did not appreciate its beauty as much as I might have, perhaps because my dad would sometimes wake me up EARLY in the morning with it. He's always been a morning person, and in high school, many times I was not. At this point in my life, I can now look back with some fondness. ;)
Wake, Awake, For Night is Flying

There you go...hope you enjoyed this little taste of Sarah Orton Nosek's musical history. XO Dad! Love you!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Dress Up Days

Caroline's Kindergarten loves to have dress-up days. It suits our daughter just fine. I honestly don't know if there is a happier Kindergartener around. She loves going to school in something different than her ordinary clothes. :) Her teacher is so much fun...She always packs a lot of theme related learning into these days.

I love it too. These days give me great photo opportunities. :) This cowboy outfit was put together compliments of her Uncle Bill and Aunt Lisa. Bill wore the vest and chaps when he was Caroline's age, and Lisa bought the pink cowboy hat when we visited her this summer down in Texas.

She's a cute little cowgirl, huh?!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Top Chef in Training

Apparently, Evan believes that if I am doing any cooking or baking in the kitchen, he has an open invitation to join in. He just grabs his stool and brings it over to where the action is.

Here he is making eggs. Dave had been making them while watching the bears. Evan took over, managing to mix
and watch the game as well. It was so funny to watch him mimic exactly what Dave was doing, down to his loud cheers and jeers for all of the big plays. There's never a dull moment with this one. :)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Happy birthday, Vika!

Yesterday we celebrated my sister-in-law's birthday at a Japanese restuarant. (Her name is Vika, the woman on the far left.) It was a wonderful afternoon: great company, yummy food, and delightful news. Dave's brother, Mike, and his pregnant wife, the birthday girl :), announced that their baby is a BOY! Such exciting news! Of course, the boys were thrilled. Henry and Seth pointed out to me the fact that Grandma and Grandpa Nosek now have more grandsons that granddaughters, that the boys were winning. Caroline was a little dissappointed, and asked me, "Why can't the baby be a girl?" :)
The kids loved trying their hand at chopsticks...
and most of them were enthralled with the culinary entertainment...

Evan was not so sure about it, especially the fire part. He jumped off of his chair and cowered by the back wall for a few minutes.
As the show went on, he did get brave enough to watch from behind his chair. :)
Thanks so much for a wonderful day, Mike and Vika, and once again, congratulations!