Sunday, April 30, 2017


After a tumultuous winter we were ready for what would end up being our annual dose of unseasonably warm weather before plunging back into the cold.

Rock & Roll

The boys ended up using the cold days to work on their songwriting in the play room. Elliott seems to be exhibiting the characteristics of a traditional drummer in that he is most comfortable playing with as little clothing on as possible.

Elliott Loves Arugula

Elliott recently discovered an intense love of arugula which caught both of his parents off guard. For a couple of weeks I could barely keep enough on hand, causing me to have to run out to nearby stores in an attempt to find acceptable greens during one of the worst seasons California has had in recent memory. I did not think that running out of arugula would be the thing I was most worried about sending my kids over the edge.

Elliott's Neck Accident

Arugula was playing with a string that we hung from doorway to hang Christmas ornaments and ended up giving himself this horrific rope burn.

Martin's Latest Facial Injury

Martin, on the other hand, got clawed by this brother during a wrestling match where Elliott pretended to be a lynx. You can probably guess from looking at these two injuries that we were mere days away from picture day at school.

Martin's Wild Kratts Drawing

Martin's obsession with Wild Kratts only continues to deepen and he draws at least two or three new pieces of Wild Kratts inspired artwork per day.

Elliott Making Gnocchi

Homemade Gnocchi

Elliott helped Jen make a big batch of gnocchi while Martin watched Wild Kratts and, of course, the huge batch only ended up being enough to get us through most of one meal.

Getting Ready for Skating Practice

The skating routine has been going very well. Elliott tends to follow the teacher's direction really well.

Skating Practice

Martin tends to spend most of the class talking the teachers' ear off. They're both doing well but Martin could probably be further ahead if he spent less time talking to the teacher about Wild Kratts.

Martin and Mr. Tim

With the warmer weather Martin has figured out that he can just walk over to our neighbors' house any time he feels like it to chat with them. On the day of the neighborhood Easter egg hunt I kept losing track of him only to find he'd gone next door, rung their doorbell, and was asking them about something or another.

Neighborhood Easter Egg Hunt

They were extremely eager to get to the egg hunt after we pried Martin away from our neighbors.

Neighborhood Easter Egg Hunt

Martin was a little upset that he only got one egg. He found a lot but in his exuberance he lost quite a few as he swung basket around as he ran. Elliott showed mercy on him and shared some of his chocolate.

Martin Asking Mr. Tim for his Fox Tail

When we got back Martin escaped again and came back in asking if he could have our neighbor, Mr. Tim's, fox tail. I told him no then he explained that he'd been over Mr. Tim's house and Mr. Tim told him to ask me if it was okay. We went over and, needless to say, we are now the proud owners of a fox tail.

Eating Matzoh

For Passover I made matzoh crunch for the kids which was a big hit. They also enjoyed eating crackers the size of their heads.

Dominoes with Grandpa

Storytime with Nana

Nana and Grandpa showed up with plenty of activities to entertain the kids who were very excited to see them.

Grandpa Making Lunch

Grandpa even made lunch for the kids, something that happens pretty infrequently. I'm not sure they were 100% ready for fluffernutters but I certainly was.

Morning Easter Egg Hunt

Morning Easter Egg Hunt

Morning Easter Egg Hunt

Easter morning saw a fun hunt through the house and yard. Josie slept extra long so we held the boys off with videos until she woke up. This eventually lead to a bit of a tantrum but we were able to avoid a complete meltdown and salvage most of the morning.

After finding all his Eggs, Elliott reached deep into the backpack he'd packed for hunting, removed Mjölnir, and started cracking them open in a precise and practiced way.

Easter Day

The best gift they got was these eggs that you put in water and let them hatch slowly over the course of a few days. They couldn't get enough of them, checking them every twenty minutes an noting their progress. Apparently my parents got these as an after thought but they were a huge hit.


After a two year hiatus I busted out the spit and did the lamb over an open fire once again.

Easter Day lamb cooked

This was probably the best lamb I've ever cooked or eaten in my life. There's something extremely satisfying when you blindly stumble into cooking something so good that you can't even believe you did it.

April Dinner on the Deck

It was so warm the week after Easter that we ended up grilling and having dinner on the deck most nights. After a long winter there is really not much better than eating out on the deck. Not only is it beautiful to eat outside but it's so nice to let the kids make as big a mess as they'd like and not have to worry about cleanup.

Playtime at Naperville Yard

For Josie's birthday we took her to a nearby indoor play area with her brothers and our friends, the Farmers, who were visiting from New Jersey. She had a blast and came home to take an epic multiple hour nap.

Walk to the Park

While she napped we took the big kids to the park.

Kids on the Couch

Some of the big kids even enjoyed a quiet snooze on the couch after the fun-filled afternoon.

Josie's Birthday Party cake

For Josie's birthday her brothers got her a school bus. It was the first present she got and had it ended there she would have been completely happy. Of course it didn't end there because even though logic tells you not to shower a two-year-old with gifts, most people cannot help themselves and we all ended up getting her way more than she needed or wanted.

Josie's Birthday Party bus

Overall Josie had a great birthday weekend, a great party, and had a ton of fun with family and friends.


The next day the boys and Jen got ready to go see cousin Evelyn at her dance recital and brought her some special flowers.

Goodbye to Nana and Grandpa

The next day Nana and Grandpa had to leave so we all said our goodbyes before the boys went to school and Nana and Grandpa hit the road.

"This is the Life."

Later that day the boys came home from school and we hung out with Auntie Lisa before she returned home and enjoyed the last day of beautiful weather before we returned to chilly, rainy days.

It was a good close out to April and a great Easter and birthday party for Josie. In a couple of years her birthday will be on Easter itself and that should add a new element of fun to the overall weekend. For now the events remain separate as we try to figure out how this little baby became a two-year-old seemingly overnight.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Springing Out of Sickness

We are one third of the way through 2017 and there has scarcely been a day where one or more of our family has not been ill. While this is one of the most mild winters in recent memory it really hasn't mattered much as we've spent most of it inside, suspending all rules and watching eight or more hours of television with one or more ailing children. Meanwhile, our toboggan and saucers sit unused in the corner with hopes of getting their maiden voyages next winter.

Elliott and Martin Show off Yoxo Creations

We spent some nice chilly days working on projects and trying to make the most of being cooped up indoors.

Luigi, Mario, and Josie

Martin briefly became obsessed with Mario and Luigi and even worse this outfit to school one day.

Making Pasta

Jen and I had visions of a great day spent at home making homemade pasta with the boys. Instead our pasta maker broke and the kids showed nothing but disdain for the entire project.

Train Show at the Arboretum

We got a chance to go to the train show at the Morton Arboretum once again which Josie was captivated by. While last year she spent the entire time silently gnawing on a pizza crust, this year she looked on in awe and occasionally had to be stopped from diving in to grab the trains.

Lunch at Portillo's

We took them out for a lunch at Portillo's where they got to eat small amounts of food and drink large amounts of milk shakes.

Meetin Pete the Cat

We returned to the theater to see the Pete the Cat musical number and they got a chance to meet Pete after the show despite being rushed along by a crabby woman who wanted nothing more than to crush little childrens' dreams.

Sleepover Ready

The boys also got a chance to partake in their first sleepover at Auntie Lauren's with cousin Evelyn. Josie was a little dismayed at watching her brothers go out on their own adventure but she quickly calmed down and cheered up the next morning when we got to go over for breakfast.

Superheroes and Kindles

The boys have continued to enjoy their daily Kindle time during Josie's naps, one of the only ways to ensure a quiet time for everyone during the treacheros mid day nap.

Josie Making Valentine's

As Valentine's Day approached we were able to twist the boys arms into making valentines for their friends. Josie needed no such arm twisting.

Valentine's Tea Party

Valentine's Day came with a tea party for the kids.

Pan Seared Ribeye with Lobster Tail, Blistered Sweet Peppers, and Truffle Gouda Mashed Potatoes

I put together a rare dinner that wasn't thrown together in five minutes and hearkened back to the days before children when this would have been a run of the mill Thursday dinner.

Sickies on Couch

Soon after Valentine's Day we were all stricken with a nasty stomach virus that ripped through the family leaving no one unscathed.

Walk to the Market with Josie

After a few days when we were feeling a little better we walked Josie to the Mediterranean market where she napped and we purchased delicious hummus and pita for dinner.

Pirate Ship

During the extended stomach issues we continued to make use of our disastrous living space to entertain the children, including this amazing pirate ship. If you look closely you may be able to pick up on the fact that that is not an actual pirate ship but merely a recreation made from chairs!

Kindergarten Preview

We took the boys to Kindergarten preview where Martin barged in and met the lady at the front desk who he instantly told his full name, explained that they were twins, told them how he was the oldest, and described the difficulties of Elliott's birth in great detail. Meeting new people is not a fear that Martin has.

Sick Room

Less than two weeks after getting better everyone got sick again, this time with a much worse stomach bug that kept the boys up all night. Somehow Josie was the only one spared this time.

Pancake Breakfast

Everyone was (mostly) well in time for the annual pancake breakfast which was a big hit even though we were leery of them eating pancakes and sausage so soon but it all seemed to work out for the best.

Free Cone Day

We later had dinner and went to free cone day at Dairy Queen to celebrate everyone being well again.

Quick ER Visit

Later that night I took Martin to the emergency room for extreme abdominal pain. That begun a week straight of Martin being up all night, writhing in pain, and having multiple hot baths to soothe himself.

First Skating Lesson

After the worst week of the year and a lot of care Martin seemed to beat the intense pain and we were able to take the boys to their first skating lesson.

First Hockey Game

That was the perfect warm up for their first ever hockey game to watch the Chicago Steel play.

First Hockey Game

Elliott did not care for the horn they played when a goal was scored but the kids had a blast. I went to the concession stand no fewer than twelve times to get popcorn, water, hot dogs, pizza, beer, lemonade, Kit Kats, and Reece's Peanut Butter Cups. I think I got to see a few minutes of the game as well. Thankfully the concessions were located very close to where we sat.

In reading back on previous years it would seem we spend the beginning portion of most with a great deal of sickness. Now I am just hoping that the bulk of that is behind us and we can move forward to a healthy remainder of 2017.

Now bring on the Spring!