Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Jr. Paleontologist

I signed Russell up for a Junior Paleontologist class through the parks and rec department here. He was so excited about it!


I had to write that in all caps because I don’t think that’s happened since we’ve had 3 kids – and probably rarely even before that.

Russell looking at a pretend rattlesnake; the teachers brought it to show the kids that they sometimes see snakes and other animals while digging for dino bones.


It was a one-hour class. Most kids were 5 or 6; there were two 4-year-olds, and a couple 7 or 8-year-olds. They each got to hold their own magnifying class. Russell was engrossed. He sat so still, and looked through the magnifying glass so intently at every fossil and rock that was passed to him.


The kids got an extra chance to see the props and fossils afterward.


This little paleontologist liked coloring the dinosaur picture, playing on my phone Winking smile, and carrying this stuffed triceratops after the class.


Our tiny paleontologist loved this big, moving, noise-making dinosaur!


I was impressed with how well-done this class was. I’ve signed up both Russell and Meredith for a “shorty sporties” class in April – a 6-week intro to several sports – and I hope they enjoy that one as much!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

52 Things to Do– #2!

So, we visited the F ield Museum downtown today! And bought a membership. (It was worth it – we will make the money back in 1.5 more visits.)  Since we found a great, cheap, fairly close parking lot when we went to the aquarium, we parked there again today. (The museum is right beside the aquarium.) We’re learning our way around that little corner of the city!

Ready to go in!


We hardly got through any of the museum! It’s tough with a baby (although she is a total trooper). We’re glad we have the membership so we can come back and explore.

We took a picture with some Native American headdresses while we waited for Jason and Paige to check our coats:


One of the main attractions at the museum is Sue, the most complete T-Rex skeleton in the world. Russell is loving dinosaurs these days, and he was excited to see and learn about this one.


We went through several animal exhibits. Meredith loves panda bears!


Me, my first girlie, and a turtle:


Pointing to our “land!”


There is a neat kids’ play area on the first floor. We spent about an hour there. I think the kids’ favorite parts were a Native American pueblo replica, and the dinosaur nests:


The girls both fell asleep on the way home, just like on the way home from the aquarium! We all had a great time.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

St. Patrick’s Day!

Our homeschool focus last week was all about St. Patrick’s Day! There was so much free information, so many free worksheets, so many hands-on activity ideas online that it was very easy to pull together. The kids now know a few basic facts about St. Patrick, Ireland, and the myths of leprechauns.

I told them that our little “celebration” of learning would be going to the St. Patrick’s Day parade! We decided against the one in the city, not knowing if everything would be family-friendly. We went to the one in the neighboring town instead. It was fine – not too interesting, but okay. The kids only had eyes for the candy!




It was a nice, free activity for the morning!

8 months old!

Paige is 8 months old!


She’s still wearing size 6-9 mo clothes and size 3 diapers. She’s gotten her 2nd bottom tooth – all of our kids have gotten those 2 bottom middle teeth first, and just a couple days apart from each other.

We’ve adjusted our grocery budget for big-city COL Smile and because of that, I’m now making all of Paige’s baby food. She’s gotten used to it! She’s had homemade carrot-banana, black bean-sweet potato, potatoes, green beans, peas, strawberry-pear, among others.

Paige eats 1 or 2 containers of food for breakfast and 1 or 2 for dinner. She is nursing 4-6 times per day. We are also supplementing her evening feeding with a 4 oz bottle of either breastmilk (pumped and frozen) or a formula/breastmilk combo.


Paige is waking up 1x per night to nurse still, for the most part. There have been 2 nights since we’ve moved here that she’s slept through the entire night - 12 hours. I’m hoping that becomes more regular soon! She is still taking her 2 naps per day.

Paige’s army crawling has really gotten fast! She is getting into everything now. {The kids are quick to tell her what’s “not hers” if she gets into their stuff. (We are working on that.)} If she sees something she really wants, she kind of gasps and squeals as she makes her way over to it – it’s so cute! She is also working on real crawling; she often rocks on all fours and tries to take a little crawling step.

Paige loves to be heard! She yells and squeals (happily), babbles “dadada” “baba” “gaga” and imitates many noises she hears. She is often quiet when she’s observing something new or focusing on something (much like her mama!)


Happy 8 months, baby girl!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Snow and Pizza

The only two things I knew about Chicago before we moved here: 1) there is a lot of snow, and 2) the pizza is supposed to be really good.

1) Snow:





The kids have enjoyed the snow more than I thought they would – particularly Meredith, which is a good thing! Jason has taken the kids sledding a few times at the sled hill in our neighborhood. We have brought the snow into the water table in the screened porch a couple times for something different to do (and so baby and I can stay inside!) We have gone to a couple playgrounds – in the snow, because that’s what there is!

2) Pizza:


Apparently there is a heated debate around here about which pizza is best: Giordano’s, Lou Malnati’s, or Gino’s East or West. We have taste-tested 1 out of 4: Giordano’s – and it was delicious! We’re planning to try the rest so we can make our recommendation!

I was amazed at how good the kids were, also. It’s been a while since we’ve taken them to anywhere other than Chick-Fil-A with just the 5 of us. I’m thinking this might be a magic age: almost 3, 4.5, and a super sweet baby. They loved the pizza (they even had GF for Russell) and we all had some nice conversations. For so many years, one of us was walking around with a child who didn’t want to sit still for the whole meal. I’m sure we will still need to do that some (and more when Paige starts walking), but maybe we’re hitting a new and easier stage…or maybe we just had a good night. We’ll take it!

Valentine’s Day

Yes, this is about a month belated!

I dressed the kids in pink and red about a week prior to Valentine’s Day so I could get some pictures to send to our family, as I do every year. It is hard work getting 3 kids to look/smile for a picture! This was the best one (and completely unedited due to my computer issues):


We also gave the kids a couple little presents for Valentine’s Day. Both the big kids got a box of chocolate (which they loved). Russell got Chug (from Planes), Meredith got Mia (from Sofia the First), and Paige got some mesh eating/teether things. They all still love their presents!


Funny story: Russell looked at his box of candy and said, “Why does it have my name on it?” I hadn’t even realized I bought them Russell Stover’s!