Friday, June 27, 2014

Indiana Beach Take 2!!

We are days away from our summer vacation to California and I'm actually packing early for a change. We'll be out there for a long time, so it was tricky planning for 4 kids but I think we're good. I am SO excited to see family and friends, to swim in the ocean, to take my kids to Disneyland and to celebrate Eugene's awesome life with a 40th birthday he'll always remember.

It's going to be wonderful!

In the meantime, I want to share a little family video I put together from our 24 hour camping trip to Indiana Beach over Memorial Day weekend.

If you're anything like me, then camping is super adventurous and fun for about one night. That's my threshold. Now if you throw a camper and air conditioning into the mix, I might be able to extend it, but since all we have is a 5 person Coleman pop-up, one night is plenty.

This is our second time hitting up the nostalgic Indiana Beach and let me tell ya nothing has changed since we were there two years ago. In fact, nothing has changed since 1926 when it first opened. And that's exactly what we love about it. Vintage restaurants and benches that show the history of this summertime destination leaves my kids wondering what it was like "way back when." Old school carnival games, fireworks over the lake and a fried elephant ear were perfect ways to finish off our night.

For a little summer escape without expectations, this is the perfect little spot.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Stranded At The Drive-In

At about 5:00 on Friday Eugene came busting out of his home office ready to start our night, Friday Family Fun Night to be exact. I casually mentioned a drive-in movie theatre that we’ve always said we’d like to visit and without missing a beat Eugene agreed and was already yelping our take out dinner. That’s what I love so much about him, his incredible take charge attitude. I see it in so many aspects of our life.

The drive-in movie was as adorable and nostalgic as it probably was back in the 60’s. They even kept the famous dancing hot dog intermission cartoon. We ordered take out from a great place in Lombard, set up a table and folded down the back row of seats creating a perfect little fox den for the 6 of us.

The kids went ape shit once the seats were gone, swinging from seat belt to seat belt like they were Indiana Jones, tying each other up and then faking a rescue.

It is so funny to watch them play with each other these days—when I’m not too busy (which is almost never) I’ll look up and actually focus on what they’re doing and who’s doing the leading and who’s following orders and who’s who in their little triangle of trust. They’re a perfect case study in small group communication. I’ll have it noted for the record that when they’re “in the zone” Bella and Mia refer to Indy as “Mason” and Chance as “Brooky” every single time. Ummm, okay.

Back to the drive-in and on to the cutest possible picture EVER. That Chance of ours, loves to love!

It was such a perfect night too, with a tinge of crispness in the air and the faint glow of the “honey”moon overhead the 6 of us snuggled in our 2 person sleeping bag and watched How To Train Your Dragon 2.

 It was a great movie and another summer memory was made. Huddled in the back of our minivan, I realized how strong our team is. We may lay all over each other, accidentally kick each other in the face, pull off each other's glasses over and over just to see a response, and bicker over blanket hogging but we're a team in every sense of the word. 

Cascade Movie theatre can be found at 1100 E. North Ave in West Chicago (which is acutally a town, who knew).

Happy Summer!

Friday, June 13, 2014

In Summer!!!!

"I'm gonna do, what frozen things do in SUMMER," bellowed Olaf in the movie Frozen, which my daughters have finally been able to sing since it is actually, FINALLY summer.

We are done, done, DONE with school! And it's been an awesome year for everyone.

Here's their last day of school pictures:

Of all the older kids, I've seen the most growth with Mia this year. And I'm not just talking tally marks on our height chart. No,  I'm talking real, quantifiable growth this year. She has blossomed into the most lovely little 6 year old with the world's biggest heart. What a year it's been, Mama Mia.

I've purposely washed out the contrast and lightened the below picture because if you look closely you can see my brown eyed beauty waving back at me. That last kindergarten drive away DID ME IN! I thought it would be a breeze with the second child--NEWSFLASH it doesn't get emotionally easier, it gets surprisingly worse. At this rate, I'm going to need an EMT on site when Indy hops on the big yellow bus for the last time. 

For a class gift we had all the kindergarten students make a thumbprint and a pinky print around a ceramic plate. The awesome art teacher at the school fired the plate for us and with a very permanent marker I added all the names and details. Here's a before and after:


We had all three kindergarten classes do this and it turned out to be the cutest little teacher gift!

When asked about this school year Mia answered:

What was your favorite part of this school year? Meeting a new teacher and new friends.
What is your favorite book? Muncha, Muncha, Muncha
What is your favorite color? The rainbow
Who was your favorite friend at school? Mrs. Buschman (her teacher, awww)
If you entered the workforce today, (with the skills you learned this year) what would you like to be? A person who goes under the sea and gets stuff


Next up for last days of school was Chance. This was particularly bittersweet because Eugene and I have decided not to send him back to preschool next year. Instead, he and I are going to have an awesome year at home ( I can't wait actually). His teachers have been so awesome and frankly that was the hardest part.

For his teacher gifts we found some really cute naked wood trays at Hobby Lobby and I let Chance paint away and then we added some embellishments and a coat of Modge Podge to seal it up. Here's one of the finished ones...

And here he is on his last day of Montessori. 

What was your favorite part of this school year? Going to the aquarium
What is your favorite book? Creepy Carrots
What is your favorite color? Green
Who was your favorite friend at school? Matthew
If you entered the workforce today, (with the skills you learned this year) what would you like to be? A jet flyer


The last, last day of school was Miss Bella-Boo's.

She finished up her 2nd grade with such excitement. She was thrilled that school was over, but who's she kidding--she can't fool me-- Bella loves, loves, loves school! She's had such a great year of meeting new friends, academaically establishing herself and challenging herself in new ways. Who is this girl???? I hardly recognize her as the little ball of warm skin that I used to tickle and squish and raspberry for hours on end. 

She's 8 now. That's almost a decade and I can barely handle the amount of maturity spewing out of her. Case in point, she made pancakes for the family this morning. All by herself!

Another mom and I were talking about how strange it is to see the physical maturity happen so fast. Suddenly, Bella's big girl teeth are filling up the empty spaces that briefly made her look young again and in a blink of an eye her adult smile is back, more confident than before. I'm having a hard time processing it all. She's just getting so old...

What was your favorite part of this school year? I got Mrs. Tiernan as a teacher and I heard good things about her when I was in 1st grade.
What is your favorite book? I have many, but I'd say my favorite right now is Minecraft Handbooks
What is your favorite color? Turquoise 
Who was your favorite friend at school? I had a lot of friends, but I couldn't say I have a favorite.
If you entered the workforce today, (with the skills you learned this year) what would you like to be? A Readers Theatre actor (speech friends: I about fell over when she answered that!)

As soon as Bella deboarded the bus and her brother, sister and I dogpiled her in the street in a summer has officially begun bear hug, we loaded up the car and headed to the zoo to celebrate.

And just to prove that I do in fact have a fourth child here's Indy lovin' it up at an outdoor concert. 

Mark my words, this summer will be one to remember. We're headed to Cali for three weeks in July and will be getting our family fix on! Cousins, cousins everywhere cousins. We can't wait. We're doing Disneyland and Legoland, celebrating Eugene's 40th and we're even stopping by Vegas to see Christine and family. It's going to be so much fun!

Summer is here!!!!!!!!

"Bees'll buzz, kids'll blow dandelion fuzz
And I'll be doing whatever snow does in summer!"


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