Friday, October 31, 2008

"I'm almost 10!!"

"It's my BIRTHDAY today!"

That shouting began around 7:20 this morning....and that particular phrase has been said probably 34 times since then.

But, Colin has been so cute today. He really gets this year what his birthday means--that he is getting older--and that means, in his mind, that he is able to do more things.

"Can I stay up during rest time today?" (This question has been popping up frequently lately. My response today? "Sure.")

"Can I watch Scooby Doo?" (This show is normally off limits, due to the 'scary monsters' that are involved with every stinkin' Scooby Doo episode EVER. My response? "Okay.")

"Can I play my PBS Kids games on your computer?" (Our new laptop. My response? "Uh, NO.")

Colin is a very think-it-through kind of a child. If you ask him why he did fill-in-the-blank, he will stand there and list every single fact and reason of why he came to the conclusion he did to do that certain thing. Or, he asks a million questions about why certain things are the way they are. It reminds me of theorems in geometry....when you had to list the 19 different reasons of how you got from point A to point B. He is that kind of kid--always thinking things out, down to the minute details. Case-in-point:

Tonight, while we were brushing teeth (which were still oozing sugar from the mounds of Halloween candy):

Colin: "Mom!"

Me: "What?!"

Colin: "Did you know that I'm almost 10?"

Me, chuckling: "How do you figure that?"

Colin: "Well.........after five comes six, seven, and eight.........then, after eight comes nine...........and that's almost ten!"

Me, with a giant grin on my face, trying to stifle the laughter: "Yep, Colin, you are surely right. You are almost 10."

Happy Birthday, my sweet almost 10-year-old. I love you more than I could ever say, and I am so thankful that God put you in my arms first. You are so smart, so talented, and such a special part of our family. Your big-boy help to me everyday is such a gift. I can't wait to see what God has in store for you!

(If you are new to my blog since this date last year, you can click here for part one and here for part two of last year's recount of Colin's birth story and a few birth day pictures--it was quite the labor, that's for sure....)

Oh yeah....and Happy Halloween everyone!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Eight amazing years, one amazing trip

Shane and I had the best time in Chicago for our anniversary. We really love going to Chicago....of course, I had the option to go wherever I wanted to, but I actually picked Chicago over other places. It just seems to hold a special place in my heart.

One of my fondest memories was a day early on when we started dating, and Shane took me downtown to go shopping and to dinner. We spent forever in Crate and Barrel, just eying all the stuff that was way too expensive for us to actually buy *grin*, then headed to dinner at this wonderful hole-in-the-wall restaurant, Gino's East. It was the original Gino's--barely any room in there, and has since been shut down in favor of a newer and much larger building. It was, officially and to this date, the best pizza I have ever eaten. (I've been back since, and it's still awesome--but there was something about that pizza that day. Or, maybe it was my company.....) Then, we headed down to Navy Pier and walked, listened to this really cool blues band for awhile, and then watched the Friday night fireworks display.

Chicago has been extra special to me ever since that day.

We did so much on our trip, and really enjoyed just being together and celebrating our marriage and the gift God has given us in each other. More and more everyday, I appreciate Shane for who he is as my husband and the father of my children.

I don't know how I could possibly be any more blessed. (On a side note....I sure do love you, babe.)

Now that you are all gagging (HA!)'s a quick recap of some of our activities!

Friday morning--walking from our hotel down to Michigan Ave!
We are right above the Chicago river in this picture

Back at the Swissotel.....the view was amazing!

(that's the Chicago River, and Navy Pier is sticking out at the end,
in case you aren't familiar with the city)

Friday Night--Dinner at the new Gino's East (still awesome, by the way)

And then, one of the biggest highlights of the trip--
Down to Broadway in Chicago to see......

It was amazing! I can't say enough good about this show. FAB!
Another really great highlight was Sunday night. I got tickets to The Second City, and we enjoyed three hilarious hours of comedy. We laughed 'till we cried--literally!

Somehow, we were seated in the very front row....however, we were not spit on by any of the actors, nor were we openly mocked (Shane was a bit nervous about the latter). The girl right next to Shane, however, was sung to...just think, that could have been me *sigh*

Seriously, could we have been any closer? That's the stage right to the right of Shane

My cheekbones were actually hurting at the end of the night
Monday afternoon, just before heading home, we made our last stop at the Patio restaurant for a beef sandwich--another one of our favorites. It was yummy, as usual.

We were sad to be leaving our mini-getaway.....but yet excited at the thought of coming home to see the boys. The greeting we received from them was very loud and very joyful, which was great--it was good to know that we were missed, and how much they really did love Mommy and Daddy! (At one point in the trip, Colin was distressed over the fact that we were coming home soon, because that meant that Grandma MJ was returning to her house--he was NOT fond of that idea at all! But, once it was explained that Grandma would still be around just like before, all was well with the world again.)

All in all, the trip was everything I was hoping it would be and more. Thanks again, Mom, for taking such awesome care of the boys for us--we could not have had this fantastic experience without you!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Happy Birthday, Dad

We love you soooooooooo much!

(and Shane, too)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

All my bags are packed.....I'm ready to go

While I won't be "leaving on a jet plane," in about two hours, Shane and I will be heading out for an amazing five day anniversary trip.

We try to get away in some capacity every year, but this trip is the longest we have had in quite some time, and I am soooooooooo excited. Every year Shane and I take turns planning the trip--the destination, the hotel, the activities, the restaurants--it is great fun, but also a lot of work and preparation. I have the even years--it's our eighth anniversary this year, so I did all the planning. (I truly love those odd years, Shane.....)

Grandma MJ is taking off work Friday and Monday and will be keeping my little men....I've said it before, and I'll say it again: they couldn't be in better hands. Still, my stomach is starting to turn flip-flops at the thought of being away from them for so long.

Oh how I will miss these guys so!

But, I know we are going to have a great time--after all, I planned this whole thing *grin*!

Oh, how I love my blanket...

**or, my two blankets**

I caught my boys watching "Franklin's Blanket" just like this. HA!

Happy Fall, Y'all

Shane did a super job of carving our pumpkin a couple of weeks ago.
I loved, loved, loved it!

It glowed so cool outside at night

Unfortunately, I know nothing about carving pumpkins....and ours lasted about a week and a half before it rotted and was riddled with fruit flies. I am serious--it was one of the sickest things ever. Ugh. So, now, here are the house pics with all of our fall decorations....

......minus one terribly cool carved pumpkin.
At dusk....

Getting darker....
and darker.....
and darker!
Some of my favorite decorations are
Mr. Bones and Ms. Kitty.
Little candles go behind the faces to make them glow!
And, every year we do pumpkins in varied sizes for the members of our family.
My all-time favorite fall decorations are my Luminaries. I have a total of 10 of them that line my walk and my front three windows.

Oh, how I love fall decorating!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Mom, I've named my Dinosaurs....

Cameron pulled on my arm this morning.

"Mom, come heeeeya, come heeeeya! Quick!"

I got up and trudged over to where he and Col were playing. Turns out, Cameron wanted to introduce me to someone.

"This is T-Rex......"

"And this is TEENY-Rex!"

HA! I told you this kid never ceases to make me laugh....

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Cameron's Birthday Party

I felt a little sorry for Cameron the night of his birthday party. At the beginning of the night, I started thinking that I should call it a "non" birthday party, because that is sort of how it was feeling! None of our family was able to come with the exception of Grandma MJ. Now, it was not like our family was ditching us or anything....there was just a lot going on elsewhere and people weren't able to make it. We knew that, and understood why people couldn't come.

When we were figuring out what to do about having the party for Cameron, we decided that we weren't going to do the 'invite tons and tons of other people' thing like we did last year--we just decided that this year, we were going to keep it small--family only.

We definitely succeeded in keeping it small. *giggle*

(By the way, though I in NO WAY felt let down by the family that wasn't able to come....{and this statement doesn't really apply to this particular situation at all}....I was giving things some thought and was reminded of the fact that when you can count on no one else, you can always count on your mother. Am I right?)

Though I felt sorry for him at first, and kept thinking to myself, "poor kid," Shane *ahem* gently reminded me that I was overreacting, because Cameron's three and he doesn't know the difference anyway. We gave the kid cake and presents, and he was happy. That's all that matters to a three year old anyway, he said.

After giving that a few minutes of thought, I came to the conclusion that Shane was right, because Cameron really did have a great night of presents and goodies. And that was my whole goal for the night--for Cameron to be happy!

First order of the night: Presents!

Ethan, digging on Cameron's new Bob and Larry puzzle....

....and, moments later, digging on Cameron's new dinosaur puzzle
What's in this big bag? Dinosaurs!

It took a matter of seconds before playtime began with these creatures
Cameron really, really loves his new dinos--he hasn't stopped playing with them yet!

From Gram Billenstein: a new farm set, complete with silos, a tractor combine, little farmers, and a grain semi! It is everything a little boy could want, right?
A new giant SEMI car-carrier from Grandma MJ, complete with 20 new cars!

And, you can RIDE it!

Dinosaurs can ride it, too
Ethan showing Grandma MJ his Cameron's new toy
The toy worlds collide--Farms with Dinos with Semis.

And they all peacefully coexisted together

(until tomorrow when everyone is fighting over whose is whose....)
Mommy, Ethan, and Cameron's very non-professional-but-made-with-much-love homemade birthday cake--a two layer extravaganza with dark chocolate fudge icing in the middle, and vanilla icing on top and around the sides!

Enjoying the cake

I'm not really sure who enjoyed the cake more--

Daddy or Cameron......


.....or Grandma MJ....
....or Colin, who couldn't quite seem to get it all with his fork

After cake, putting the new dino puzzle together
(and trying to keep Ethan from tearing it right back apart)


We did miss all of you long distance family that couldn't join us....but hopefully this gave you a bit of insight into Cameron's big day!