Friday, December 25, 2009

Isaac's Movie

Okay Adair Family, since I got you to all log-on and look at Morgan's meet video, it's only fair I share some of Isaac's highlights for the year too. This was the movie I made for his baptism last month. Merry Christmas to all of you. Wish we were hanging at the Shaeffer's tonight too! Don't have too much fun without us.

Loving My New Easel

Brent surprised me with an easel for Christmas today. This painting is what I whipped up this afternoon (it looks better in real life). It felt great to get the creative juices pumping again. Thanks Brent!

Morgan's Beam & Floor Routines - 12/19/2009

Morgan's gymnastics season got off to a rough start this year. First, she fell on the bars and cut her lip (tooth through upper chin) so she took two days off practice. The next week she was elbowed in the wave pool at Six Flags and broke her nose so she couldn't go upside down for a few days. Then, we went on vacation for two weeks. When we came back from vacation, the gym was closed for their annual week long summer break. So, after being off for about four weeks in July/August Morgan couldn't wait to get herself back in the gym. About halfway through her first practice she had a big rebound and stumbled backward right off the cushy floor. When she reached out her hand to save herself her hand hit the concrete and her wrist broke. That meant a hard cast and four more weeks of no bars and no tumbling. After eight weeks of hiatus, Morgan was finally able to start training again around the first of October. She worked super hard and was barely able to get all her Level 6 skills just in time for the first meet. After this meet she moved up to Level 7 so she had just two months to learn all of her new skills before the first meet. She was so excited to finally get her beam routine down just in time for the meet on 12/19. She did awesome and we were so proud of her. We also just love her cute floor routine this year. We think her coach, Angi Rawles, did a great job with the choreography.

Saturday, December 19, 2009


Ethan and Isaac were outside playing in the snow this morning. Brent was watching them outside the window giving Morgan and I the play-by-play:

Ethan makes snowball with the snowball maker tool
Ethan throws snowball at Isaac and misses
Isaac throws snowball at Ethan and hits him in the face
Ethan cries, and hits Isaac with the snowball making tool
Isaac falls down
Ethan continues to hit Isaac with snowball making tool
Isaac gets up
Isaac throws another snowball at Ethan's face
Ethan cries again
Ethan again charges Isaac with snowball making tool
Isaac takes tool
Isaac helps Ethan make a snowball
Isaac stands still and lets Ethan hit him in the face with a snowball

They seemed to be having a great time. Apparently this is how brothers have fun together.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Thinking Outside the (Toy) Box

Last year Isaac's favorite Christmas gift was a stack of cut 2x4s. He was slightly disappointed that Santa didn't think to leave nails too, but thank goodness Dad had plenty in the garage to share. This is the same kid who wanted nothing more than his own rolls of Scotch tape for his 3rd and 4th birthdays. On that same note, one of the most used "toys" in our household this year was a huge sheet of whiteboard that Brent bought at Home Depot for about $12 and mounted to a wall. The kids have spent countless hours drawing and coloring on their wall-sized canvas.

Last Friday (Black Friday) as I walked through the war-torn aisles of Toys R Us, I couldn't stand the thought of bringing one more useless toy into the house, knowing full well that it would likely be forgotten within a few days and sent to Goodwill within a year. I hate that I've become fond of video games as gifts only because I know they get used and they don't take up much space.

Each December Ethan's preschool sends home a great "alternative gift list". I just couldn't throw it in the recycle this year without posting it where I knew I could always find it (here :-). So, here's the fabulous list (with a few of my own embellishments) that inspires me every year to think outside the (toy) box:

HOLIDAY GIFTS FOR YOUR CHILD (from Totline Parent Flyer)
If your house is overflowing with forgotten toys, try these gift-giving alternatives this year. Friends and relatives might also appreciate suggestions for practical, meaningful gifts for your child.
Subscriptions - Children's magazines, book clubs, activity books
Lessons - Music, tennis, art, gymnastics, ballet, swimming, computer
Tools for Learning - Globe, pens and pencils, magnifying glass, magnets, puzzle books, reference books.
Games - Concentration, lotto, deck of playing cards, dice, marbles, number games
Music - CD or iPod player, CDs, iTunes cards, musical instruments
Tools for Creativity - Special kinds of paper, felt tip markers, crayons, stickers, rubber stamps, paints, pipe cleaners, colored duct tape, yarn
Things to Build With - Blocks, building sets, hammers, pliers, screwdrivers, nails, scrap wood
Special Keepsakes - Photo of you as a child, a favorite old toy or book, your first teddy bear, a scrapbook or photo DVD
Entertainment - Tickets to a play, movie, or other special performance, roller skating passes, bowling passes, climbing wall passes, zoo or museum memberships
New Hobbies - Art posters and children's art books, camera, photo album, soccer ball and jersey, kid's cookbook with apron and cooking utensils
Your Time - A special day spent together, doing an activity of the child's choice

Monday, November 23, 2009

Rock Band is Rubbing Off on Ethan

Here's the very serious life planning conversation I just overheard between 4-year old Ethan and his friend Alena today:

Ethan: "Alena, when I grow up and I'm a rock star I'm not going to wear a shirt. Actually, I'm going to wear my Bolt shirt (shirt w/lightning bolt on front)."

Alena: "You should wear a coat. Rock stars wear no shirt with a coat. But you have to wear pants."

Ethan: "Well, I'm going to have a guitar. You know, sometimes rock stars don't wear a shirt with their guitar. Alena, I'm going to play the guitar, but you can be in it too if you want."

I wish I could have recorded the whole conversation. Alena went on to give some career counseling advice suggesting that Ethan may want to consider other professions. If only I could recall exactly what was said. It was pretty comical. Maybe we should put "Lego Rock Band" on the Christmas list to tone down the serious rocker images our little guy is getting from the wii.

Here's a photo of Ethan playing the air guitar with his buddy, Mitchell Dickson, in Baltimore last weekend. Rock on!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Clever Costume Ideas

Here are instructions for Morgan's costume. I've also posted a few more we thought looked fun from the same book (Make Believe, a Book of Costumes from Klutz Press). It's an old book from 1993 but may still be available at the library.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Ready to Collect Candy

Last year after Halloween it was decided that for 2009 we'd be a pirate family. Twelve months later and twelve months more "pre-teen", Morgan wasn't interested in participating in the family costume. So, she went with her own cool "headless woman carrying her own head" (which turned a lot of heads and won her the teen choice award at the church party...and even better was pretty easy to put together). I'll post instructions if anyone is intersted.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Smelly Boys

Isaac and his friend, Michael, are in the room next to me playing wii. Here's the conversation I just overheard:
Michael: "I don't get what the big deal is about character underwear. You don't even see them anyway. They are always covered up."
Isaac: "I don't get why you have to have clean underwear. Why does it even matter anyway."
Michael: "Yeah, clean underwear should be against the law."

Speaking of clean undergarments, I was having trouble finding clean socks for Isaac for the past few days. I knew I was behind on laundry and figured they were in a basket somewhere. Tuesday morning I told Isaac I didn't have any socks for him and he said, "Oh, it's okay mom, I have a whole bunch of them in my backpack". He opened up the front pocket of his backpack that was stuffed full with about 15 pairs of dirty socks. He'd been taking them off halfway through the day at school and stuffing them in his backpack. Ewwww!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

My Funny Four Year Old

Thank you to the creators of Caillou for the very inspirational episode today. Caillou's dad used a marker to draw a mustache on Caillou's face. What a wonderful idea to put into a 4-year-old's head.

Next came the bath to clean up. Who knew a 1/2 bottle of plaque rinse would make 1/2 a tub of water so blue! Ethan was so pleased with his discovery. I'm happy to report there is no hidden plaque on Ethan's skin AND he's smelling minty fresh.

Good thing preschool started yesterday so our hours of mischief making can be kept to a minimum.

Monday, September 7, 2009

First Day of School - August 24, 2009

It feels like school just got out, how can it possibly be time to start again? This summer raced by for me. The kids were busy with summer school for the first 6-weeks of summer. Morgan took Drama and Orchestra (she plays the violin). Isaac took Science and Cooking. Both loved the classes they took, but waking up at 7:45 each morning for the first 6-weeks of summer was very un-summerlike. After summer school ended Isaac had a week of all-day Camp Invention then a week of all-day Cub Scout Day Camp. After camps ended we headed to Utah for two weeks, then Brent and Morgan continued on to California. We'd been home just a week when it was time for school to start again. Phew!

Morgan's must haves for school this year: 1. A school BAG not backpack 2. Clothes from Aeropostale and American Eagle NOT Justice (Justice was sooo 4th grade) 3. Converse 4. Skinny jeans 5. Her own school supplies (not the generic supply pack purchased from school).

Isaac's must haves for school this year: Whatever mom picks-up (gotta love little boys for that).

The Best Thing About Summer!

Look at all those X's. Ahhh, it's a little bit of heaven isn't it? Harnessing the workhorse in those little bodies is so satisfying. Morgan worked all summer for a North Face fleece. Isaac worked for two DS games. Best of all the kids were motivated an generally quite happy about their chores with sights set on big rewards. Well worth it in my book!

Morgan's Summer of Mishaps

June - A tooth cuts through Morgan's chin after nasty fall on the bars at gymnastics. Thankfully her teeth are okay and no stitches are needed.

July - A teenager accidentlly elbows Morgan in the nose at the wave pool at Six Flags Hurricane Harbor = broken nose.

August - A silly stumble at gymnastics (that can't really be blamed on the sport) results in a broken wrist and a cool neon green cast for 4-weeks.

I've heard it said these things often come in threes. So I think we're done, right? ...knock on wood.

Daddy-Daughter Backpacking - August 14-16, 2009

Morgan met her first friend, Camden Carter, on the day she was born. Camden was eight months old and came to the hospital to welcome her friend, Morgan, to the world. About a year later a new friend, Brooke Tennison, moved-in. The girls spent three fun years together in Mountain View, California playing at the park, playing dress-ups, taking baths, making lots of crafts, and getting into all the mischief that one, two and three year olds can get into. When Morgan was 3-1/2 our family moved to Chicago, later the Tennisons moved to Southern California and the Carters moved to Sacramento.

In the summer of 2006 Camden turned eight and was old enough to fly alone to Chicago. The next summer Morgan flew to Sacramento. It's become a yearly tradition the girls look forward to all year long. This year was again Morgan's turn in Sacramento, but this time Brent showed-up for the last few days of the trip as did Brooke and her dad, Matt. The group of dads and daughters strapped their gear on their backs and hiked up to Penner Lake in the Sierras for a few days of camping. Two other dads and daughters (friends of the Carters) and Camden's Grandpa "Panda" also joined the expedition.
Morgan, Brent, Camden, Brooke, Matt:

Brooke Tennison, (Sutton Carter), Camden Carter, Morgan:

Brent, Matt Tennison, Ian Carter at the Carter's house in Sacramento:

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Snowbird, August 7, 2009

Growing up my family had a summer timeshare at Snowbird Ski Resort. Every summer we spent a week swimming, playing tennis, hiking, playing in the game room and generally doing a lot of relaxing and hanging out. My dad's timeshare week this year happened to land during our visit to Utah, so he invited us to join him, his wife, and their three boys for a day. Much of Snowbird is just as it was 25 years ago (or maybe more?) when we first started spending time there, but one thing is for sure, there is a lot more to do now (and it's really beautiful and fun)!

Max, Luke, Sam, cousin Jaxon, Morgan, Isaac & Ethan on the Snowbird tram:

Morgan on the climbing wall:
Grandpa and cousin Jax riding the alpine slide:

Grandpa Adair (my dad) on the tram with the kids:

Isaac riding the mechanical bull...he went over and over again!
Me doing flips on the trampoline:
Brent climbing the climbing wall:

Utah with the Pauls, August 1-15, 2009

A nasty flu bug and a precious premie newborn kept us from spending as much time as we'd like with Rich & Ash and our Paul cousins this year. But as always we had just enough time together to really remind us that we don't have enough time together (does that make sense). Back in 1993-1997 we spent most weekend nights hanging out together as two newlywed couples. During those years we each bought, renovated, and decorated our first homes, we bought a boat together, and Rich and Ash had their first two babies. We moved away in 1997 promising to be gone for only a few years but here we are 12 years later and thousands of miles away. It was hard to say goodbye knowing that little baby Bella will already be walking and talking by the time we see her next summer--how much we miss living far away! I think I need to figure out how to Skype.

Morgan, Lexi, Jake, Ethan & Isaac (Josh is missing):

Welcome sweet Baby Bella:

Utah with the Adairs - August 1-15, 2009

It's Labor Day today and I've neglected to blog almost all summer. I guess it's a good thing that I haven't been tethered to the computer while the weather has been perfect out. Our summer was very cool, so much so that I'm still waiting for my tomatoes to ripen (I've only had one red tomato so far...maybe I'll have to try fried green tomatoes). Everyone complained about the lack of summer. I think I was the only one who thought perpetual spring was a really great thing. Afterall, Chicagoans love to complain about how we never get spring, the weather goes right from winter to summer. So, I say lets enjoy spring while it's here. The only downside was that we didn't get to swim much and never got much of a tan. It was actually the coolest summer in Chicago history with not a single day over 90 in July (and maybe August too, but I'm not sure since we were gone for two weeks).

Thankfully, we made our annual trek home to Utah where days in the 90s are always plentiful. While there the kids played and played and played with their cousins, and only reappeared when they were hungry or so tired they couldn't stand up any longer.

My great little travelers in the SLC airport all carting their own gear:

Isaac, Ethan & Morgan on the way to Lake Mary above Brighton Ski Area:

My sister Rachel with her boyfriend, Jeremy, hiked with us:

Me and my 4 sisters, my mom (in the middle...yes, hard to tell she's the mom), and my brother's girlfriend, Katie (in the black next to me):

Ethan standing "on top of the world" at the top of the tram at Snowbird Resort:
Morgan with cousins Courtney, Elise, Monet, and Great Aunt Marge:

Lake Geneva - July 25, 2009

After mountain biking with the family in Kettle Moraine State Park, WI we stopped off in Lake Geneva for dinner. Lake Geneva is a charming little tourist town just over the Illinois border in Wisconsin. The boys headed straight for the water but Morgan decided it was too cold. Instead of swimming Morgan entertained herself (and many onlookers) doing back flips and back handsprings on the sand.

Mountain Biking Rediscovered - July 25, 2009

Each semester in college I loved taking an easy one-hour credit/no-credit class with friends. Bowling, tennis and racquetball were just a few. One of the best classes I happened to stumble upon was mountain biking. After an unsuccessful attempt to join a Greek sorority I decided to use the money I would have spent on sorority dues to buy myself a mountain bike. Atop a shiny new bike I spent the semester riding up canyons I never would have dreamed of climbing on my own and off-road trails I'd previously thought could only be ascended on foot. The class introduced me to a whole new world and I was addicted. Brent and I spent many a Saturday hitting the plentiful trails in Utah.

When we moved to California we again found plentiful trails, but with babies in tow off-road mountain biking became a distant memory. The baby bike trailer was great for the kids, but not so great for the steep and narrow mountain biking trails. So, we stuck to the flat paved trails for years.

Then, we moved to the Midwest. With vast flat plains of cornfields we assumed the sport of mountain biking didn't exist. We had been told there were trails just over the border in Wisconsin but with three small children it required too much planning, cost, and effort to get away for an entire day for a bike ride.

Fast forward to the summer of 2009. A garage sale around the corner provides us with a "tag-a-long" bike that attaches to my bike for 4-year-old Ethan. Ethan can't get enough of his new "one-wheeler" bike and suddenly we think we could possibly attempt an easy off-road trail as a family. We head to the Kettle Moraine State Park about an hour away in Wisconsin.

We check in with the Ranger for maps and directions and are told the John Muir mountain biking loops would all be much too challenging for the kids. We choose to disregard the Ranger's advice rationalizing that our kids are pretty tough, and if the trail is too rigorous we can walk our bikes along the short 1.5 mile loop. The kids agree and we hit the trail.

1.5 miles later everyone is feeling confident and having a blast. I'm pleased with how well the tag-a-long bike works, and how Ethan can help me out on the big hills with his own pedals. Morgan is well equipped with an aluminum bike with gears and shocks, but Isaac is stuck with his heavy as a refrigerator hand-me-down bike from the neighbor next door. Instead of crying and complaining that the trail is too hard with his ill-equipped bike, Isaac quickly runs (not walks) his bike up the hill whenever it's too steep. What a little trooper.

After the second loop (4 miles), we are pleased as punch with our tough little brood of kiddos and excited to have reopened the door to the world of mountain biking. The kids seem pretty excited about their new discovery as well.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Loving the Lake

We've been spending a lot of time at Lake Michigan this summer. The kids love playing on the beach and swimming in the calm fresh water and I love how peaceful it is. The best part is it's just a quick 20 minutes from home. Can't beat that!