Thursday, July 31, 2014

In Summer!

After the birthday celebration gala Nana and Grandpa stuck around a little longer than planned for a number of reasons. Not the least of which was to get some work done!

Granpda Installing New Door

My father was instrumental in installing a new door to our deck which has vastly improved the indoor bug situation.

Grandpa Working on Firepit

We also rebuilt the firepit and I permanently damaged our sprinkler system by inadvertently finding exactly where it was buried in the back yard.

Nana with Wombats in Sandbox

There was a lot of time spent in the new sandbox while all this home improvement was going on.

Narragansett Del's Shandy

Narragansett Del's Shandy

Autocrat Coffee Syrup

Many gifts were deliverd to us by my parents from the old country of Rhode Island, all in beverage form. While the boys won't yet get to taste Narragansett beer, they may enjoy some coffee milk in the future. We just need to make sure we give it to them early enough in the day so that any potential caffeine intake will not destroy our lives.

Cousins Photo Shoot

In the morning on Saturday we took all the cousins to the mall for their most recent photo shoot.

Nate at the Naperville Ale Fest

The day before my parents left we attended the Naperville Ale Fest where many tasty beers were consumed. Reports are that they ditched the full pint glasses they handed out last year in favor of new three ounce glasses. I can't imagine why handing out full pint glasses would have been a problem at all at an event where they have over one hundred beers on tap.

Visit with Jocelyn and Matt

Later that evening we were paid a visit by our friends Jocelyn and Matt who were passing through on their way to moving to sunny Davis, California. So far this first year has been extremely rich with house guests, something we sincerely wanted but did not thing we'd actually get. Apparently people traveling from New York to Chicago with a frequency we had not previously been aware of.

Hand, Foot, and Mouth: Round 2

Immediately after all our guests left, the following Monday morning, Martin woke up with a fever. It got quite high and he talked of his mouth hurting. After a trip to the doctor it was confirmed that he had hand, foot, and mouth disease once again.

Sick Martin Taking Nap

On Wednesday morning Elliott woke up with a fever as well so he accompanied Martin to the doctor even though we could safely assume that they had the same thing. While this time was horrendous Martin was almost back to normal by Thursday even though Elliott was feeling pretty miserable.

Sick Elliott at Pond

We went for a walk to pick up Martin at day care and decided to extend it for a bit. We ended up at a pond where Elliott glared upon the algae in disgust.

Recovery Dinner with Mummy and Grandma

After more walking and a trip to Grandma's we decided to chance it by walking to the nearby Italian restaurant where Elliott appeared to make a full recovery. It must have been the medicinal properties from the linguine and chicken tenders.

Mummy and Wombats

After a brief nightmare the hand, foot, and mouth was gone and they were back to normal. It was four days, one bad, two horrible, and one bad. Then we were done! It could be our minds buidling the previous bout into legendary status but this second run, while awful, seemed much more mild in comparison. Even after some pretty bad nights we felt like we'd dodged a bullet.

Sunday Trip to the Arboretum with Splashing Cousins

On Sunday we went to the Morton Arboretum before I left for work where the cousins got to splash and play in a lot of water and Elliott had a significant meltdown when we broke him free of play to go eat lunch.

We will see what August brings. Temperatures have only been in the 90s once or twice and it has been the mildest summer I have ever witnessed. Let's hope August does not bring the heat because this has been one of the most enjoyably temperate summers of my life and, of course, my first ever with central air conditioning.

And with all that the boys have discovered a love for the movie "Frozen" along with every other child in America. Hopefully this is more of a humorous homage to the shockingly mild summer we're having and not an omen for another horrendous winter.

In summer!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Birthday Cake, Birthday Cake, Friends, and Birthday Cake

July kicked off with a celebration of Canada Day.

Canada Day

The celebration consisted mostly of the boys wearing their Canada shirts to day care. Sadly, we didn't have time for much else.

Elliott Multitasking with Emergency Radio

The day before Canada day we had some pretty nasty tornadoes and 80 mile per hour winds in the area. We spend the next few days preparing our basement emergency kits. Elliott took a great deal of interest in the emergency radio which he carried around with him for the better part of a day.

In these trying times you can never be too safe.

Martin with First Garden Tomato

We got our first tomato from the garden which excited Martin greatly. We asked him to share it with his brother.

Martin Eating First Garden Tomato

He did not respect our wishes.

Tour de France and Biscuits

July also marks the beginning of the Tour de France and our ceremonial breakfast of biscuits with cream cheese and jam. Surprisingly the boys took more interest in the bicycles than in the delicious morning biscuits.

Sandbox Supplies

In advance of their birthday I went to Home Depot where I purchased 700 pounds of sand for their new sand box along with a wheelbarrow and about 300 pounds of garden soil. This required the rental of a Home Depot truck and several hours of heavy lifting.

Family Pic at Eyes to the Skies

On July 4th we went to Eyes to the Skies, a local celebration of hot air balloons, greasy food, and covery bands. The boys had a blast on the big school bus shuttle and checking out the various balloons.

Boys at Eyes to the Skies

As much as they enjoyed the balloons the highlight, strangely, was the cover band who performed a surprisingly faithful version of Kiss From a Rose.

Peacock at the Zoo

Over the holiday weekend we also took the boys to the zoo where they got to yell at some peacocks, a wolf, a bald eagle, and some reptiles.

Martin with Statue

That night we went to a barbecue at some friends' house where Martin discovered a statue in the back yard.

Elliott Standing in Grass

Elliott had fun trying to blend in with the local flora and fauna.

Beanbag Time

They didn't quite grasp the concept of the beanbag game but they did enjoy it when the neighbor came by and brought them some Tonka trucks to play with.

Pool Pary

After I left for work they had a little pool party with Jen and Grandma in the backyard.

Birthday Books!

Their birthday was on Tuesday and we celebrated by opening a huge box of books in the morning.

Birthday Book Reading with Miss Angie

They took some of their favorite books to day care to donate them to the school library, but not before making Miss Angie read them.

Pushing Evelyn on Zebra

After school Evelyn came over and the birthday boys took turns, and worked together, to push her unsafely about on their learning zebra.

Birthday Cake

After cupcakes at school they rounded out the day with a birthday cake made my Jen.

Buddies Getting Birthday Presents from Grandma

They even got some pre-birthday party presents from Grandma.

Lately they have taken some self-responsibility in putting themselves on time out when they misbehave. The problem is that they really enjoy time out. Above is a video where Martin, who hadn't actually done anything wrong, tried to pretend he was really mad and stood on time out.

He didn't do the world's best job of convincing us he was mad, however.

Sleepy Evelyn in Highchar

After all this Evelyn was just about ready to drop. I can relate because I slept well that night.

Big Boy Bed

We attempted to let them sleep in a big boy bed for the night but this went horribly wrong and after a few minutes of shrieking and banging on the door we put them in their cribs for the night. This started the latest trend of them demanding to sleep in the other's crib. For some reason they think it's hilarious to sleep in their brothers' crib.

Katherine, Sylvain, and Maya at the Park

Later in the week we got a visit form Katherine, Sylvain, and their daughter Maya. The last time we saw them there were no children and Jen was a few weeks away from giving birth. This visit was slightly more chaotic but a heck of a lot of fun.

Elliott Ladder

Martin Ladder

We all went to the nearby playground where Elliott figured out how to climb ladders and Martin followed a few minutes later. This severely upped the danger factor of going to the park.

Happily they quickly forgot about ladders after discovering how much fun it was to go on the slide by themselves.

Sylvain Teaching Martin Proper Table Manners

Back at home Sylvain attempted to teach Martin proper table manners. This had no effect on him as he continued to shovel pasta in his mouth by hand. Martin did find this exchange to be highly entertaining nonetheless.

Chin Chin!

They also learned how to say, "Chin chin!"

Elliott in Ottoman

Elliott mostly avoided this, much preferring to climb in and out of the ottoman where we store our blankets.

Maya Standing Unassisted

Maya also took her first attempts at standing unassisted. She would have had better success if not being occasionally bumped by a rampaging wombat.

Martin and Pete

Elliott and Pete

On Saturday we had a sad morning as we went to say goodbye to Pete. Pete has not been feeling well for a while and Grandma was going to take him to the vet. Martin and Elliott wanted a chance to give him some goodbye pats and kisses.


Few dogs experience the joy and pampering that Pete has experienced over the years. He will be deeply missed by all.

Especially Elliott.

Grandpa Pulling Elliott in Wagon

Later in the day Nana and Grandpa came over to give free wagon rides.

Martin with Hose and Big Ball

They also brought the world's largest ball with them, an instant hit.

Lauren and Evelyn

That evening we celebrated Evelyn's first birthday.

The Boys Inspect Evelyn's Birthday Card

The boys worked diligently as a card inspector. They found this automated card with some sort of rotating gopher to be of extremely high quality.

Evelyn's Smash Cake

Evelyn was more interested in decimating her cake.

Birthday Breakfast

The following morning we had a great breakfast with Nana and Grandpa.

Elliott Opening Cards

Martin Opening Cards

The wombats opened their own cards including a singing farm card which was almost as cool as the spinning gopher card Evelyn got.

Exciting Backyard Water Park

While the boys napped we worked diligently to turn the backyard into a makeshift water park.

Daddy's Old Tonka Trucks

My parents also brought my old Tonka trucks. They're a little rusted and broken but after our experience the previous weekend we were sure that they would be just fine with that.

Elliott Reading His Book from Nana

Mummy and Martin Reading His Alphabet Book from Nana

They boys got a lot of books for their birthday including personalized alphabet books that Nana drew for them.

Family Sand Box Time

The sandbox was also an instant hit which is good because after the back-breaking labor associated with assembly and transport of sand I think I would have forced them to play in against their will if they weren't interested.

2nd Birthday Cake

All in all it was a very successful, and busy, beginning to July. We've received a second polar vortex so in the past few days the temperature hasn't even gotten into the 70s. As far as I'm concerned this has been a fantastic development. Needing to wear pants and hoodie in July is something I am not opposed to.

It makes pool parties difficult but mowing the lawn is a treat.