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.