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Friday, April 30, 2010

Bedtime at "The House of Sprout"

Here are a few shots of the little ones after they were in bed for the night.
Don't you love the way their minds work as they fall asleep?

Tater likes to sleep with Mommy Lovie inside her shirt...we offer no explanation!

Bruiser spreads his taggies out over his pillow and then doesn't lay on it!

And Tater gives Miss Wiggles every toy she can find...until there is almost no room left for Wiggles!
But the best thing about these pictures?
The kids are all sound asleep!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

A Family Kind Of Weekend!

We had another busy weekend...guess that's just our life! I decided to put aside all the school news and just enjoy my days with the kids. We had a ton of fun...haircuts, a birthday party, hiking, playing, shopping - Toys'R'Us, Trader Joe's, Sam's Club, IKEA, projects around the house...and lots of cuddles! All the fun makes it hard to realize that it is Sunday night and that I have to return to school matter how unwelcoming it may feel. But, on another note, the kids are super-excited to see our sitter (who is actually our sitter's daughter for tomorrow...but that's another story!)!

Tater went to her first birthday party at McDonald's and it was for her all-time favorite school friends - twins, S and W! She and S have even made their intentions for marriage known! Little does she know that Daddy has decided she has to wait until she's 60!

Bruiser got his haircut and got "spiked like Daddy"!

Tater chose to go shorter...and Mommy's pushing for even shorter before summer.

Then we headed to the Audubon Society for our first hike through nature for the year.

This slimy frog reminded us of Papa's pond.

Mommy wore Miss Wiggles in the backpack and surrendered the camera to Daddy...a weak moment but it was fun to focus on the kids and not the memory making for a change!

This hike had a great boardwalk that made the walk even better.

Daddy spotted a bird...of some kind!
(Lost my bird books in the flood...)

Love this shot...and love hold this little guys hand!

Where the hike peaceful!

A HUGE turtle we found hiding in a spot along the path.

We also enjoyed being outside...Miss Wiggles loves the Cozy Coupe!

Snack time!
(Can't live without the "Snack Trap" cups!)

And...finally...look carefully...Miss Wiggles is sporting her first ponytail!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Randomness and Storms!

When I plugged in the camera today I discovered a few missing images from Chicago that needed to be shared! The memories just keep on coming!

This is the water tower...the only building left standing after the famous Chicago fire.
(And that's K and L in the bottom right corner!)
Yes, we went in here!
Yes, we drooled a bit!

And in amidst the tulips and city life, we stumbled across this lovely calming!

Yesterday I was the crazy lady that took three children shopping at 9am to buy flowers for our gardens and window boxes and then came home and had LOTS of help planting them! Tater had a blast picking out flowers and choosing her favorites! It was a great way to celebrate Earth Day and give back to the planet.

I picked these for by the front door...even though I had said I wasn't doing any container gardening this year...other than window boxes...oh, well!

We planted four of these with Dusty Miller, petunias, and ivy.
This box has an added delphinium...which supposedly attracts hummingbirds and butterflies and detracts deer (not they are frequent visitors to our neighborhood!)...and Tater had to have it! We hope to be able to watch visitors from our window this spring and summer!

Tater picked the pink daisies!

The yarrow made me think of Mimi's garden.

Tater loved these purple flowers and they made my two whiskey barrels easy to plant!

And how pretty is this!
(Imagine it without the sticker!)
Cool thing is that this plant was grown in the town I was born in...hundreds of miles from where I live now...just a neat connection!
This is our backyard expansion that we finished last week to incorporate the "trumpoline" (in Bruiser language!). The net we ordered should be arriving today so I'll feel a bit better having the little ones jump, jump, jump!

This is Daddy's new fire go with his new grill
(pictures was covered and I'm not supposed to touch the man stuff!).
Hopefully we will break in the pit this weekend with the marshmallows we bought last night!

And yesterday a storm hit...literally and figuratively!
This was the sky yesterday afternoon.
Imposing, huh?

See the hail on the chair?

And on the canopy and deck?
And, while that storm was happening, my lovely school department that employs me was brewing a storm of their own! We've been without a contract for almost two years. Last January (2009), they unilaterally and unprecedentedly cut our salary 5% and imposed a 20% co-pay on out health insurance. It was a huge blow financially and spiritually for the union...we lost all faith in the school committee, who refused to negotiate and ignored the mediator's suggestions. Things have been tied up in court since then. Until yesterday...
The attorney for the school department sent a letter to the attorney for our union. They are cutting our pay another 3%, requiring us to work an additional 4 days per school year, and additional half hour each day, increasing our class size from 25 students to 28 students, and cutting our sick days (15 paid days down to 8 paid and 7 unpaid...but you have to use two paid, then seven unpaid, and then the remaining 6 paid).
Now, I love my job...I really do...I can't think of any other job I'd rather do! But all the stuff that goes with it is so frustrating. Teaching is one of the most dedicated and giving professions I have ever seen. It so hard to see such amazing professionals have their livelihood cut and cut again. The lack of respect and value is unbelievable. Yes, we get the summers off. Yes, we have shorter work days. Yes, we get a lot of vacations throughout the school year. But, admit you really want to spend all day in a classroom filled with five- or six- or seven-year-olds...or (in my opinion!) with a school full of teenagers? We earn every bit of what we matter how little it is becoming!

That being said...I'm going to try to enjoy my last day of spring break. Then, come Monday, I'll go back to school and happily greet all my little ones and continue to give them best education I am trained to give...and love every minute of it!
And here is a happy thought to end the randomness...Miss Wiggles is trying to be Mommy!
Ooooo, look at those little legs!
Too, too, too cute!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Spring Break!

We are currently on spring break...and loving it! I spent the first weekend in Chicago and the kids enjoyed quality Daddy time but it has been all me since Monday! We've cleaned and organized, run errands, bought and planted flowers, played outside, made a quick trip to Secret Beach, read a bit, done lots of laundry, and even managed a few cuddles here and there!

Miss Wiggles graduated from her high chair to a booster chair since she would never sit in the high chair!
They had some fun pushing Wiggles around in the boxes...and she loved it too!

Tater played with her dollhouse a lot!

Miss Wiggles practiced being super always!

And Bruiser left his mark when he helped himself to cake in the refrigerator this morning!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

You Know You Are Home When... go to the grocery store at 7:30 in the morning! take three kids in their PJs to Target before 9:00 in the morning because you are completely out of diapers in the house! walk through the house and fill a laundry basket with things that are in rooms where they don't belong.

...there is enough laundry for at least 10 loads...because Daddy can take care of the kids but he can't take care of the kids and do laundry! can't see your kitchen counter beneath the dirty dishes, bags of groceries, piles of mail, and all the random stuff that collects there without a mommy to clean it off. secretly wish you could sneak back to the airport and climb back on a plane to the world of hotels where they clean up after you, restaurants where they cook for you, and shopping that doesn't involve diapers and groceries!

Monday, April 19, 2010

What Happen in Chicago, Stays in Chicago!

A much-needed and well-deserved weekend away in Chicago with the girls was had! We had such a great time that we are looking forward to making it an annual event. There was lots of chatting, good yummy drinks, delicious food (lots of cheese and bread!), a bit of walking, some amazing shopping, beautiful jewelry, and tons of giggles! Much NEEDS to be kept between the four of us, but here are a few memories of the fun!

L and K (the sisters!) posed with Flat Stanley, who traveled from the Netherlands to join us occasionally over the weekend.

There were tulips everywhere...all colors and gorgeous!

D took a break from shopping.

Lunch in a park in the city.

Another visit from Flat Stanley (this time posing with Aunt D).

Street Performer on the Magnificent Mile

Looking down the river

Fountain at Millennium Park


"The Bean" at Millennium Park

D and me in "The Bean"

Inside "The Bean"
Can you find us?

Taking a picture of us taking a picture in "The Bean"

The Gospel Brunch at the House of Blues.
Amazing food and amazing music...we even danced!

A Catholic church we popped into on the way to dinner Saturday night
Not surprising...since we were traveling with a minister!

My first sight as I got off the "L", that I traveled on alone to meet up with girls.
I was definitely out of my comfort zone but had a blast learning about the city!

This is a fountain at Grant Park.
The water pours off the top...beautiful!

The second tower is where they project moving images...amazing art!

More tulip...the city was to the right, the lake to the left.

Lake Michigan

D taking pictures of the lake

So...just a quick recap! We had fun, loved being grown-ups, missed our kids and husbands, but came home better for it all! Next girl trip in t-minus 364 days, ladies?