Saturday, January 29, 2011

Yay for Old-Time Friends!!!

The day after Canon and I returned from Chicago, Mark took the day off from work.  It was SO NICE to be with him again and to play as a family that day.  I missed him so much, and it would have been really hard to come back and then have to stay home alone with the baby all day.  Yeah, that was pretty awesome!

Just a couple days after that, my friend Theresa came up with her husband for a visit from Maryland.  (Some of you may remember her from my previous posts of when I went to MD for her baptism and later her wedding.)  She and her husband Gary came out to Boston IVF because she's participating as a surrogate mother for a second time.  We figured that she was going to be so close that we might as well have a short visit.  I drove to Boston to pick her and Gary up and brought them back to Springfield on Friday afternoon.  We talked all Friday night long, and then just hung around the house on Saturday.  Sunday we brought Gary to church with us, but Theresa was feeling really awful so she stayed at the house.  It was a very short visit, but it was so fun to see them again and to get to know Gary a little better.  (I really only met him at her wedding, and it's not like we had much time to really talk and get to know each other.)  She will be coming back out to Boston IVF for further treatments/procedures, so I'll most likely visit with her again in the near future.  YAY!

Sorry I didn't get any pictures while you were here, but thanks for the wonderful weekend visit, Theresa!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Who Vacations to Chicago... Part 2

My mother kindly reminded me that I forgot to mention that the first Saturday that I was in town we all went out for pizza at Giordano's for my dad's birthday.  Other than the fact that Canon was pretty much refusing to consume anything other than chocolate milk and constantly throwing his crackers to the floor, I had a great time.  He was basically throwing a fit and I knew he needed to go to bed, but it was still fun to eat yummy food and laugh with family. I apologize to my dad for having forgotten to add this in the previous post.

Now, to continue where I left off...

Saturday evening was really fun to have so many people together.  The house was really full, but I wouldn't replace that night with anything else.  I thoroughly enjoyed talking with my brother Steve and his wife Maggie.  I don't get to see them or talk with them much, and it was a real treat.  We also all played a game called "Things" and all got a good laugh. (It was actually pretty hard with that many people, but it was a blast!)  I don't know how many more opportunities we'll get to all come together, so I count my blessings that I had the chance to let my baby meet so many of his aunts and uncles (even if he won't remember it)!

Sunday night was pretty fun too.  My brother David's wife (Aileen) and her daughter (Cherry) came back from the Philippines, where they're from and had been visiting for quite a while.  So we gathered as a family for a welcome home party.  Jeff made several things out of balloons- animals, hats, and a house that really ended up being more like a box but the kids had a grand ol' time playing with it.  We put up streamers, and David got Dora the Explorer decorations and cake.  Cherry was so excited to see all the Dora stuff and it was so great to see her smiling over everything.

Monday I don't remember doing a whole lot other than trying to take it calm.  I do remember that evening I planned to go out to dinner with a few friends of mine, and the rest of my family went out to eat somewhere else.  It was really nice to get with Chuck (finally), his girlfriend Lisa, and Lauren (again) for a dinner at Chili's.  It may not have been an entire evening, but to have a calm time with the attention on my boy was fun for me.  (Ok, ok so maybe I'm a little prideful, but I love to show off my little guy and have people tell me how cute he is.  He really enjoys the attention too, so it was good all around... except for maybe the car-ride home since he really doesn't like being in the car.)

Tuesday was the day we all went home, so it had its moments of chaos, but not many.  My afternoon flight was timed pretty well because it allowed Canon to have his full nap before heading to the airport.  However, he was so hyper in the airport and on the plane.  I knew he would be getting tired by the end of the flight, but that would just make him even more restless.  At first I took a seat near the middle/front of the plane in a middle seat, but then someone suggested that there might be more empty seats in the back.  I headed toward the back and took a spot with two open seats.  Then the girl in that row offered to move to the next row back to allow me to have the whole row to myself.  That was so nice of her.  It really made all the difference to have a bit of leg room to allow Canon to get down every once in a while.  Of course, every time I let him down he wanted to walk out into the aisle (all at bad timings too), but it was so great to have all three seats to ourselves.  He was pretty difficult for me to handle, but that's because I was trying to keep him happy and quite.  Everyone else on the plane thought that he did great.  (Phew!)  I tell you though, by the time we got back to Massachusetts, Canon was not as excited to see Mark as I had hoped he would be... but that's because he was so sleepy.  I was glad to be home though!

Mary and Sammy right before leaving for the airport.
I have to say that as glad as I was to be home, I'm still so grateful to my brother Rob for those plane tickets to go visit family in Bolingbrook, IL.  It was great to be with my parents again, to see all the new colors they've painted in their house.  I loved spending time with Jeff and Mary with their kids.  Getting to know them as their personalities are really shining, it was great to see how different they are from Canon and each other.  I am amazed at how well her children behave during prayers and just their happy attitudes toward so many things.  Sammy is such a cuddle-bug, I'm kinda jealous.  Just seeing how Jeff and Mary interact with their kids and each other- I think they're an inspiration... or a mental kick in the pants to tell myself that there are things I ought to do better on a regular basis.  I hope that I can find a way to teach my children to listen as well as theirs do.  I also never realized how loud my own child is until this trip.  You mean... not all kids just stand there and shout at the top of their lungs when they get excited about something, or just because they want to hear the sound of their own voice?  Huh, go figure!  I guess you learn something new everyday.  Thanks again, Rob, for the tickets.  It was a great time!
us with Dan and Bonnie just after the Dora party

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Who vacations to Chicago in January???

Who vacations to Chicago in January?  Well, apparently Canon and I do.  For Christmas my brother Rob bought me a plane ticket to visit family in January.  Since Canon is still free and a lap child, he comes with me pretty easily.  We couldn't really afford to buy Mark a companion ticket, so he's still in Massachusetts while I visit my family in Illinois.  It's been a lot of fun to hang out with my parents, my brother and his family, and to see other family too.

Much of what has gone on so far is kind of blur in my memory, but here's what I can tell you about our trip up until now.

I arrived on Friday afternoon. The snow started falling on our way home from the airport, and it just did not let up.  Jeff and Mary with their 3 boys were supposed to come in a few hours later, but due to the weather, driving conditions, and traffic, they arrived really late that night.  Canon was already in bed. 

Saturday, I woke up to this adorable face!

I just love his bed head!
I think we just hung out around the house all day, and I think it was Canon's first experience with falling down a flight of stairs too. (poor kid!)  I know that night I went to a birthday party for a friend from high school.  After I put Canon to bed, I made my way to the bowling alley, and it was a blast.  I expected to be there for only about an hour tops...but I was there for about 2 hours.  There were so many people from high school that I haven't seen in the last decade, so I spent a lot of time just catching up with everyone there I knew.   Yay for old-time friends!  (Now I almost feel like I don't even need to go to my 10-year high school reunion this summer. Ha ha!)

Sunday we went to church (duh!) and saw so many old friends and mentors.  I always wish that there was more time in between classes so that I can talk more with people.  After church we had to stick around for a little while because Jeff accidentally left the lights on and killed the car's battery.  We couldn't get our other car close enough to jump it, so I took Canon inside to feed him while they experimented with using two sets of jumper cables together.  That apparently worked because they got the car up and running again. 

I don't really remember anything special about Monday... we were probably just hanging out around the house. Nothing special... although that was probably the day that Canon fell down the stairs 3 times. (Yeah, he likes the stairs, and there' only so much you can do when all he wants to do is practice climbing up and down them.  We borrowed a baby gate, but I'd rather he get his "falling" done and out of the way before we go back to MA where our stairs are really steep and extra dangerous.  He's doing better, but we still need to keep an eye on him.  Getting him to stop and turn around before stepping off the edge is the hard part.  He just has no fear, that kid!)

On Tuesday we went to the Dupage Children's Museum, which was really a ton of fun for all of us.  Of course the 4 little guys really enjoyed it, but I half think my two older brothers enjoyed themselves more.  I felt bad for poor Canon though.  The time we arrived at the museum was about when he should've been going down for a nap (that was my fault because I took too long to get ready), and he totally crashed in the car on the way home.  Here are a few fun shots from the DCM.

 Enjoying himself in the Little Explorer's section

 "Ooh, velcro gears!"

 Splashing away!

"Look, Mommy!  A waterfall!"

That night my mother was scheduled to work at the Chicago LDS Temple.  So we planned as a family to all go that night.  It was a good thing we did too because the entire endowment session was made up of my brother and his wife and the witness couple, my father, and me.  My mother followed along in that session, so afterwards we all went to participate in some sealings.  We then went to Cheddar's for dessert and rushed home to our babysitters.  It so nice to be able to just get away with the family to the Temple and not really have to worry about bedtime with the baby.  Apparently Canon did give the babysitters any trouble and he went down to bed really easily.  (That was a relief becuase he really didn't get a nap that afternoon.  Yes, he crashed in the car on the way home from the museum, but he didn't sleep longer than about 30 minutes total.  He woke up and would not go back down shortly after getting home.)  The other kids were more of a handful, but the babysitters seemed to be able to handle it just fine and everyone was safe and sound once we got home- after 10pm.

We haven't really had any more family outings, but I took Canon with me to go visit a few high school friends.  Wednesday evening I went to see Lauren Miller (Chuck was supposed to be there, but he bailed out due to deadlines at work! Hopefully we'll see him this next Monday!) and her parents.  I kept Canon out a bit later than I should've, but it was good to see her and show off my little handsome guy to her.  Thursday evening I took him to go see Doug and Stephanie Carlisle and to meet their newest little baby.  It was really great to be able to catch-up with them and to talk as though we'd never been apart.  It was nice to also get a little break away from the chaos of rowdy boys.  True, Doug and Steph have more kids than my brother does, but their kids are quieter, and not quite as rambunctious.  Canon is not used to being around so many children, especially ones that are older than he is, so I think it was a much needed break for him too.

Friday we hung around the house all day.  We babysat a family friend's daughter because he was really sick and his wife was at work.  It wasn't really that much harder since she just played with the other kids, but that's a lot of kids in one house.  My parents went out to a movie that afternoon as a date and Mary wasn't feeling well pretty much the whole day.  I have been missing Mark this whole trip, but Friday was the hardest so far.  I guess it hasn't really felt like much of a vacation for me because I don't really get a break from I have Jeff and Mary's kids who, although they are angels, are a lot of work and don't allow for much rest, even when Canon's napping. (I think that's the main reason I haven't been able to blog until now...nor have I been able to really remember much more of what happened from day to day.)  Mark made me promise that I would actually play more with my family and not just sit around reading all day and night.  (Those who know me understand how ironic that statement is... but I've actually started and finished Catching Fire, which is the 2nd book to the Hunger Games series.  I had to borrow Mockingjay from a friend so that I can continue before I go home.)  Reading has been my only relief on this trip... it's a good thing I had a good book!

Today is Saturday.  Right now, Canon is napping and tonight is our big family get-together.  We will have 6 of the 8 siblings all together.  We've been looking forward to this all week...let's just hope that the house will hold together with that many people! :-D

The Holidays

My cameras have been pretty fickle lately, so I don't really have photos to post.  Sorry, this is just a summary of what has been happening over the past month or so.

We didn't get to travel as a family for Christmas this year, but we did enjoy a Christmas Eve together as our own little family.  We read the nativity story from the Bible while drinking egg nog (Canon's favorite part) and sitting by the Christmas tree (Canon loves the lit up tree at night too).  We tried to help Canon get excited about Santa Claus coming that night, but honestly, I think the excitement will just have to wait until next year.  He just doesn't get the whole "opening presents is totally awesome and tons of fun" concept just yet.

This past Christmas morning was probably the last relaxing Christmas morning I will get for a LONG time.  We ate a nice breakfast skillet dish and opened our presents by the tree.  Canon got tons of clothes because he really needed them, but it turns out that he's already starting to outgrow them.  (Why don't they make a size between 12 months and 18 months?  They were doing it by 3 months all along, and now I don't get a 15 month option?  What gives?!?!)  Canon also got a bunch of fun toys from family, one of which took all his attention away from his other presents and he didn't want to open any more.  He just wanted to sit and play with it.  (Thanks Brian and Tiff!)  Another significant gift that Canon received was a boat toy that played fun sounds and a cute little song.  It was just the ticket to motivate Canon to go from the baby tub to the big tub.  (I've tried to do this a couple times, but he would just scream and wail, and then when I tried to get him back into the baby tub, he just refused to bathe...screaming his head off!)  He now bathes in the regular tub.

Mark got a jump rope, a work-out video for the jump rope, some new white shirts fo work, a few books, and a Kindle eReader.  He seems to really like the Kindle, and he uses it every day. It fits right into his suit jacket inside pocket, so he also downloaded the scriptures onto it and brings it to church.  He seems to be happy with his gifts.

I got three new outfits, some new baking sheets and whisks (which I really needed) and a couple of work-out videos (which I really appreciate, by the way! None of this- "Oh, I don't think you need to look beautiful the way you are..." kind of comments here.  I want to work out and lose a few pounds, and videos are the only way I'll end up doing it.  YESSS!!!)  I also got some fun jewelry, so that really adds to my new outfits. Overall we got really nice loot for Christmas, and it took us about a week to finally get all our stuff out of that room. 

Christmas afternoon we had an invitation to attend Christmas dinner with the family of a friend from church.  It was so nice to be included with a larger family this year.  We enjoyed playing games, chit-chatting, and just being with fun people.  It made us a little homesick for family to be close-by, but I think that it would've been worse if we were at home without anyone.  It was a great Christmas.  (Thanks Cousineau Family!)

For New Years Eve we invited a bunch of people from church over for a party.  It turned out that all but one family either backed-out or already had plans. At least that one family came though.  It was still a lot of fun because we had a group big enough to play Bang!.  They also introduced us to a game... I think it's called Ruckus.  Overall, the party wasn't as big as we had originally anticipated, but it was still a good time. (Thanks Hatch Family!)

I hope you all had a great Christmas and are making your 2011 a fabulous year!