Friday, August 24, 2012

Joel's 4th Birthday: Part 1 (of 3) celebrations

My computer is out of commission, but we're working on getting it fixed.  So, I apologize for the lack of blog updates.  I've also been busy with repairing our dryer, which is all fixed! :-)

On to more important things... Joel turned 4 at the end of July.  We had tons of fun celebrating his birthday for a couple of weeks.  He is old enough that he fully understands that birthdays mean lots of celebrations and fun.  This includes special treats, dinners, presents, a party, and cake.  Joel often has a specific plan in mind for the details of all of these celebrations.

The week before his birthday, we tried out a new to us train themed restaurant.  This one is a little further away from our house than the one we have been to so many times they recognize us.  So, we went to ChooChoo Johnny's (we had a LivingSocial certificate)!

Jim is holding Kirstin on top of the train, even though that lovely white piece of paper on the wall next to the train says only one child at a time.

Kirstin and Jim checking out the model train display (sorry for the bad reflection from the window).

Kirstin drinking MY milkshake!

Watching the train the delivered his Superman Ice cream with a candle in it.  

Choo Choo Johnny's is more spacious, quieter, and less overstimulating than All Aboard Diner.  The food is better at AAD, not that you really go for the food.

Grandma Kris came down to celebrate with Joel the weekend before his birthday, too.  We spent Sunday afternoon at Lincoln Park Zoo.  It's a free zoo in downtown Chicago.  (Parking was NOT free)!  Joel and I have been wanting to check out this zoo, so this was a great time.  

I think Flamingos are cool creatures.

Lincoln Park Zoo has a Farm in the Zoo.  This was particular interesting to Joel because it is featured in one of his "John Deere for Kids" videos that he has checked out from the library.

We watched a cow milking demonstration.  As a breastfeeding mom, I felt like I could relate to those cows and am grateful that my baby is always with me rather than a big machine. 

Joel and Jim on the big John Deere tractor!

Our family! Thanks, Grandma Kris for taking the picture.

A one horned gazelle (he lost it in an incident at a previous institution) and a giraffe.

Hello, Giraffe!  We see your black tongue.  One of Joel's books has a giraffe with a red tongue and I tried to tell Joel that they really have black tongues.  So, we waited to observe (and get a picture) of the a real giraffe's black tongue.  Every moment is a teaching moment around here. :-)

Hello Polar Bear.  Thank you for diving into the water and swimming right up to us.  We enjoyed getting to observe you during your afternoon swim.

Up close with the Polar Bear.  

On Joel's actual birthday we went to dinner at his favorite restaurant, All Aboard Diner, where we have gone  to celebrate his 2nd, 3rd, and now 4th birthdays... as well as the birth of his baby sister and many other random things that needed to be celebrated.

This time Kirstin was allowed to ride the train with Joel.  They both loved it!

Joel was thrilled to enjoy his birthday ice cream!  What an adorable four-year-old!

Stay tuned for the week of all the preparations for Joel's party and the party.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Prayers on behalf of a friend

I typically write about fun things happening with our family, but something not fun has been really heavy on my heart and mind.  Dear friends of ours (Luke and Kerry) took their precious daughter, Rachel, to the doctor for her routine two-year-old checkup last Monday.  By Wednesday night they were checked into the hospital with an impending Leukemia diagnosis.  Thursday morning this little girl who was healthy just days before had her first surgery to start the long 3 year chemo process.

So far they are all still at the hospital.  Both sets of grandparents have come to be with them.  They are anticipating bringing this sweet girl with very weak immune system back home in the next few days.  They all have great faith in the healing power of God, but this is still so very tough.  

I ask that you please keep Rachel, Kerry, Luke, Josh (big brother), the doctors, hospital staff, and supporting family and friends all in your prayers.

I can't even begin to imagine what each member of this family is experiencing, but I do know that I've shed many tears for them already.  They are grateful for your prayers.

Friday, August 10, 2012

A Party for my Peach!

We celebrated Kirstin's first birthday with a party at our house.  We thought about all things Kirstin for her party, which lead us to a music theme.  Our little girl loves singing, playing instruments, and listening to music.  

We had Shakers for the kids to make by filling dried peas into toilet paper tubes with streamers attached.  They could decorate them with stickers too.

We also had pink drums for the kids to make.

Birthday Girl ready to party!

The following pictures show some of Kirstin's friends celebrating her first year of life!

Once many of Kirstin's friends were present and had made their instruments, we put them to use for a sing-a-long.  We sang some of Kirstin's favorite songs including, "The Butterfly Song", "Jesus loves me", and "If you're happy and you know it"!

The preschool teacher in me led the kids (and adults, which was different for me) in the motions for "The Butterfly Song"

Joel and I are doing the "If I were a crocodile..."

Kirstin loves "If you're happy and you know it clap your hands"!!

I made Kirstin a strawberry cake with strawberry filling and strawberry cream cheese frosting.  Joel thought I should put music notes on it, so I did.
Along with cake since Kirstin's nickname is "Peach", we had peach crisp.  Of course, we had a selection of ice cream (including Peach)!

Family Photo... Kirstin knows cake, crisp, and ice cream are coming so she would rather eat than have her picture taken.

The birthday girl likes cake!

Yes, she had 2 plates and like it all!

Kirstin's friends thought she could use some help opening her presents.  She was more interested in what the other kids were doing than the opening of presents anyway.

Two of Kirstin's future boyfriend possibilities!  They were having a "who can roll over first" competition. I love how their dads' hands are also positioned for the face off. 

After the party was over and everyone went home, Kirstin crawled downstairs and checked out her presents closer (and calmer).

We are so blessed everyday we are with our little girl.  We are also blessed that so many people love her and helped her to celebrate her first birthday.  

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Kirstin's 1st Birthday

Our Sweet Peach turned ONE on June 29th!  I'm just slow in getting caught up on posting about it (sorry to all those family members who keep asking for pictures from her party...yes, Joel's will be coming soon, too.)

Kirstin's actual birthday we spent the whole day travelling home from our 3 week vacation.  However, we did find a cool ice cream parlor in West Layfette, Indiana to stop for birthday ice cream.  They even had little mini scoops that were her size.

Since we knew we would be in the car on her birthday, we celebrated with the Baughman family 2 days early.  It was extra special because we had celebrated Joel's 1st birthday with the extended Baughman family 3 years earlier.  We even made a cake that all 19 could eat, in other words it was free of dairy, soy, nuts, and chocolate!!  We purred Strawberries to make our frosting pink (and yum)!

The birthday girl with her big brother ready to help blow out the candle.

Cake in both hands!

Angel, my cousin's dog, strategically positioned at Kirstin's feet waiting for clean up.

The cake is gone, but the plate still has some stuck on it.

Joel is amused by the fact that Kirstin has cake on her head.

All done, so I'll make more of a mess.

Cake... everywhere. 

We celebrated Kirstin with our local friends (and Grandma Kris) on Sunday afternoon with a party at our house (for those keeping track, this was less than 48 hours after we returned home from our 3 week trip).

I just checked and I have lots of party pictures, so I'll write about the party in a separate post.  Kirstin Anne is such a joy and blessing to our family that I think it's ok to have 2 posts about her first birthday.  Sorry Aunt Whitney, you have to keep waiting for the party pictures. :-)

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Montreat Memories

The last week of our vacation also included 2 different days of visits with Whitney, Jock, and Addison.   Whitney has been my best friend since we were 10.  We've never lived in the same state, but where we live is the only thing that isn't close between us. 

This picture is really special because it's filled with special ladies in my life: My Mom, Grandma, daughter, "niece", and "sister"

Our Traditional Picture (with Brough niece #2)...we have taken a picture similar to this one almost every time we've been together over the last 21 years!  One day we'll make a book of them (if we can find them all, this predates digital people!)


At the end of the week, we headed over to Montreat!  Montreat is a Presbyterian college and conference center where my brother (Tim), Whitney, and I all attended summer youth conferences throughout high school.  Whit now lives about 10 minutes away.  This particular trip to Montreat was special as Tim and I shared it together and shared it with our families.

Montreat Rock Hopping with our families!!! One of those really special memories that is such a blessing to share with our kids and words can't do it justice.

Joel is hidden between Jim and Trevor, but he is in there.

Kelsie and Kirstin rock hopping, too!

Scoping out the next rock like a pro

Tim's family hiked Lookout Mountain after lunch.  However, the trails have changed since we last hiked many years ago.  The trail that used to take about 2 hours round trip was about 3 hours to the top.  Good thing we were on vacation and could be flexible with plans.
My parents, Jim, Joel, Kirstin, Whitney, and Addison went to the Huckleberry...yummy and inexpensive ice cream!  We would usually go on a daily basis while at Montreat.

Joel sharing his Huckleberry ice cream cone with Addison.

What a great 3 weeks our family had together on vacation.  We are already brainstorming how to pull that off again next year.