Monday, June 19, 2017

Enter the Summer

With summer nearly upon us we have already been hit with several days where temps almost hit triple digits. It's also given everyone their annual reminder on our anniversary to recount how hot it was on our wedding day. It's always nice on the anniversary of one of the most important days of your life to be reminded by everyone you know that they only memory they have of that day was the uncomfortable heat, not the joyous celebration of love.

Rainy Day Pokemon Hunt

Before the heat hit I had promised the boys we could go on a Pokemon hunt. Unfortunately that day ended up being rainy and cold but they had very few complaints.

Drawing Cards After Swim Class

Birthday party season has been ramping up so we've had some hectic weekends including this day where the boys had to quickly draw birthday cards for their friend after swim class so we could rush to his party.

Eighty percent of their class was born in July so we may just both need to take the entire month off of work.

Colossal Squid Fighting a "Squirm" Whale

So far 2017 has been the year of the Colossal Squid fighting the "Squirm" Whale. Martin is captivated by the rivalry between these two animals and spent much of the last month drawing pictures of epic struggles between the two sea creatures.

Martin Taking Pictures of Hockey Game on TV

Martin has also been obsessed with hockey which means he has spent a lot of time taking pictures of hockey on the TV so he could later draw pictures of the hockey players.

Elliott Gardening wtih Grandad

On Mother's Day there was much gardening done where Elliott dutifully helped Grandad weed our often neglected vegetable garden.

Beaudry Family

Mother's Day was a lot of fun, mostly because I got to avoid doing any of the gardening.


Shortly thereafter we finally got to go see Hamilton. The key to easing the blow on the monetary investment for Hamilton is that you have to buy the tickets so far ahead of time that by the time you go it was so long ago that it feels like you're getting to go for free!

Civil War Days

We also took the kids to Civil War Days for the first year since moving here in hopes that they'd be old enough where the cannons and guns would not startle them. This was trye for the boys though Josie was still not a huge fan.

Civil War Days

The boys even got to see what it was like to be barked at by a 1860s drill sergeant. It was pretty amusing to watch.

Civil War Days

Josie elected to just eat a donut rather than participating.

Last Skating Class

They also completed their season of skating lessons which we celebrated with pizza dinner with Grandma and Grandad.

Downtown Pokemon Hunt

On a really nice day we even headed downtown for another Pokemon hunt. After a long winter and mostly rainy spring the boys were very excited to get out there and catch some new monsters.

Zoo Trip

We also took them to the zoo where they got to experience the new dinosaur exhibit which the boys really loved.

Zoo Trip

Josie was a little less excited about the animatronic dinosaurs.

Pre-K Graduation

They boys also had their graduation from Pre-K which we again celebrated with a pizza dinner. There's something a little anticlimactic about having a Pre-K graduation on a Friday. Perhaps it's the fact that they have to go right back to school on Monday.

Building Shed for Mummy

Jen went out of town for work so we decided to surprise Mummy by building her a shed for her gardening supplies. Elliott and Josie were a huge help. Mostly they just wanted to sit inside it as I built it or play hide-and-seek where they closed the doors, told me to find them, then got upset when I found them.

Martin's Lions Jersey

Martin helped by creating a football team called The Lions by drawing a lion and putting it over the logo of one of his jerseys.

Martin's Football Game

He then also made me fashion him a football helmet and downloaded a strange game where you make a football team then just watch them play a simulated game.

Cavalcade of Planes (2017)

We also went to the Cavalcade of Planes for our third time since moving here.

Elliott Resting on Uncle Doug

Mostly the children just complained about how hot it was and melodramatically threw themselves around.

It was moderately warm.

Martin Resting in Bed after the Cavalcade of Planes

They were so dramatic that I thought they were coming down with something. Martin went straight to bed and watched Wild Kratts as soon as they got home.

Elliott Playing Super Mario Bros. After the Cavalcade of Planes

Elliott played Super Mario Bros. on my newly hooked up arcade system.

Mario and Luigi Playing Super Mario Bros.

Soon Martin was enticed to come downstairs and, of course, convince his brother that they both needed to dress up like the Mario Bros. if they were going to play.

Walking to School

It's been nice to once again walk to school on a daily basis and take advantage of the beautiful weather. Even if it means their procrastination and general lollygagging means we're late every day.

Making Ricotta Gnocchi

The kids, mostly Elliott, were really excited to make gnocchi again so we made a giant batch.

Ricotta Gnocchi with Garden Herbs

Tossed with some fresh herbs from the garden and a little olive oil they were delicious. The kids mostly just wanted them with marinara sauce.

Neighborhood Garage Sale Deals

Neighborhood Garage Sale Deals

We got some great deals at our neighborhood garage sale including a nice chair, love seat, and ottoman as well as a fully functional snowblower which was essentially free.

Hot Day Pool Fun

With temps entering the high 90s it was time for our backyard water park to be opened for the year. Unfortunately the children keep getting larger but our tiny, tiny pools seem to remain the same size.

Ice Cream Cones!

Sadly I've had to abandon the sugar cone which is, in my opinion, the only acceptable form of ice cream cone. I think I may finally realize why the flavorless, styrofoamesque cake cone exists: it is far more durable. Children just can't seem to handle the sugar cone without it breaking into a thousand pieces.

Burgers for Mason

We also had dinner in celebration of our friend Mason who would have turned 7 last week. Burgers were his favorite food and we made them in honor of his life and the impact he made on everyone that had the pleasure to have met him.

Heritage Prairie Farm Pig Gig

For Father's Day the fathers in the family went to Heritage Prairie Farm's Pig Gig, a pig roast and beer pairing. It was a fine evening and despite the look on my father-in-law's face I think he had a really good time.

107th Annual Swedish Day Midsummer Festival

On Father's Day we took a ride to Geneva where we'd heard legend that they had a replica viking ship. When we got there we discovered that they were celebrating their 107th annual Swedish festival.

107th Annual Swedish Day Midsummer Festival

So we spent a lot of time on their makeshift obstacle course, playing soccer, and battling with viking helmets and swords that were given to our children an a deep discount for no other reason than that they just amused by them.

107th Annual Swedish Day Midsummer Festival

We ended by touring the Viking ship which was quite impressive.

Lunchtime Pokemon Hunt

We finished off the afternoon with a very late lunch and Pokemon hunt which Martin enjoyed.

Lunchtime Pokemon Hunt

Elliott, like his Grandad, often has trouble displaying his true happiness in photos.

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.