Wisconsin Getaway!

This past weekend, Ben and I were able to get away from Chi-town and spend some time together before he leaves! Grandma (B’s mom) came all the way up here to watch the boys for the weekend:) Ben and I went to Madison, Wisconsin and stayed at a beautiful bed and breakfast! We had such an amazing time. The innkeepers serve a gourmet breakfast each morning and it is such a relaxing atmosphere ( a little different from where we live!). We went to the Dane County Farmer’s Market on Saturday, which was voted the best farmer’s market in the US!! It is 4 blocks long, all around their capital building. They had veggies and fruits, wisconsin cheese, syrup, baked goods, crafts…We spent a few hours there!

We met another couple at breakfast that ended up living just a few streets away from us! Strange! We had lunch at a crazy place called Ella’s Deli (http://www.ellas-deli.com) that had toys hanging all over the walls and ceiling that moved, a carousel, and amazing ice cream! We both had expresso oreo ice cream…mmmm…It was a relaxing weekend, getting to eat out two times (when does that ever happen!!), watching movies, sitting down by the lake….Thank you so much for those of you that prayed for us this past weekend. We haven’t been away together since before Samuel was born so this trip was LONG overdue! We felt so peaceful and the boys did so well with Grandma! I had been worried because Samuel had the flu on Friday but they were SO good. They had undivided Grandma-time, so who wouldn’t be happy?! If anyone ever wants to get away, I’d highly recommend madison, especially the bed and breakfast where we stayed. As you can see from the pictures, the Speckled Hen Inn was beautiful!

Downtown days!

We did a lot of fun things this week! On Tuesday, Ben spent the day with us (yea, summer!) and we spent the morning at the Museum of Science and Industry (free day!). We spent most of the time there in the “train room” where they have life size trains, airplanes hanging from the ceiling and a huge electric train display of the city of chicago. The boys were mesmerized, especially our train fanatic!! Then we went over to the farm area where they have a John Deere tractor and a combine. Samuel got to go inside both of them while Zakkai and I played in the “Idea Factory” (a place designed just for little kids to explore and have fun!) Z spent most of the time inside a play house opening and closing the shutters. He did NOT want to leave and when I tried to pull him out, he grabbed on to the side of the door and hung on:) And if you’ve ever heard him scream…he did that, too.

After the museum we went and had lunch down by the lake. It was a BEAUTIFUL day: mid-70’s, sunny, very slight breeze…ahhh… It was a great day together! And then on Thursday, the boys and I did one of S’s favorite things and rode the train downtown to the Family Fun Festival they have everyday during the summer. From 10am to 10:45 they have someone come play kids songs and all the kids can dance and sometimes they pass out maracas. We went with two friends and their little ones, Aislinn and Heather. After the concert, we went and let the kiddos splash around in the fountain. They had a blast!!

Samuel said some funny things this week (as usual!) We were on our way to the park to meet somebody and he looked up at me and said, “Mommy! I saw some dancing lions! Are there anymore dancing lions?” I was so confused and didn’t know what he was talking about until he said, “There’s another one!” and pointed to a dandilion:)
Then later in the week, we were having a discussion on full names. I went through what his full name is (Samuel Benjamin) and then said, “Zakkai’s full name is Zakkai Nathaniel Thomas.” Samuel looked up at me and said, “No, his name is NOT Zakkai Na-Samuel, mommy!”
Today Zakkai said please for the first time! We were at breakfast and he was demanding “more” as usual so I said, “Say, Please!” and he signed it and said in a high pitched voice, “Pwee!” Then he was so proud that he proceeded to say it about 14 more times! He also learned the word “bubbles” today! Zakkai is such an independent little man. He has such definite opinions on what he does and doesn’t want. He is as happy as a clam until you try to redirect him from what he was doing! He and Samuel have so much fun together even though they are so different. Samuel gives lots of kisses to his “bruvver” (and that’s when he’s not pushing him down…) they have SO much fun together that we had to put up a partition in their room to separate them at nighttime because they have been keeping each other up giggling and being ornery. Little monsters!

Happy Father’s Day!

Happy Father’s Day (a few days late…)!! This posting is dedicated especially to the loving daddy of my two precious boys.
Thank you, Ben, for being so dedicated to loving our boys. I love to hear their laughter when you are tickling them or just being silly! I love that you love our “family days” just as much as I do, especially going to the zoo. What other daddy would wear elephant ears for his children?! I love that you can be a kid again around the boys and know how to have fun with them. I appreciate that your desire is for them to grow up to be godly, mature and wonderful young men. I LOVE that you want to be the best daddy in the world for them and that you want them to have all the things that you didn’t have.
I have always loved that you are willing to change if there is ever a need. I love that you inspire me to be a better mother. We make a great team:) I love that Samuel and Zakkai light up when they see you! Just today when we got home, Zakkai went wandering down the hallway calling, “Dada? Dada?” I love that you look to God for the wisdom, patience and love it takes to be a great dad. HE is the best example you’ll ever find!
I appreciate you as a father. You make such a big difference in our lives. Happy Father’s Day, Ben. I love you!



Today we went to the zoo, our special family place. The animals were very active today so it was a lot of fun! We got there just in time to sing “Happy Birthday” to Affie the elephant who turned 38:) They handed out elephant ears for all the kids to wear and we got to watch Affie eat her “birthday cake” which really was bales of hay, carrots and such. The boys were not so sure about the elephant ears but then got silly in the car trying them on! They were having so much fun giggling together and trying on their ears that I couldn’t resist a few pictures! Zakkai kept saying “Ha! Ha!” (hat) and trying his hardest to put those ears on his head!

Here’s a few random silly Samuel sayings (say that 5 times fast!) from this past week. The other day we were out at the playground, where we spend lots of time, and the boys were going down one of the plastic slides that make you very staticky (sp?) and Samuel touched my arm by accident and shocked me! He said, “Oh! Mommy, I shot you!!” So funny… Then yesterday we were drawing on a special card for Papa and just chatting about random things and Samuel started telling me he needed to watch Thomas and he said, “How ’bout at thirty o’ clock, mommy?”
Samuel is SOOO excited for his birthday!! We ask him when his birthday is and he says, “July 6th!” And how old are you going to be.. “Free!!” He desperately wants to add more trains to his Thomas collection. He adds to his running tab of wanted trains everyday! We have to keep talking to him about being thankful for all the trains he does have and that he might get some more for his birthday:) He followed some poor little boy around the park the other day who had a train he doesn’t have yet (Henry) and was fascinated! He was very upset when the other little boy buried Henry in the sand and wouldn’t clean him off! To Samuel, these trains are treasures, not sand toys!!
Zakkai is back to his silly tyrant self, which we are so happy about!! He is getting so fast with his walking and is into everything! He plays for hours everyday with his keys and is so happy:) He wants to read books all the time…”Buh?Buh?” but you have to watch him because he bends all the books backwards. He is learning to say “please” and “thank you” which is very helpful! He is starting to get very frustrated when Samuel bugs him, even though they play very well together most of the time, and he just screams. I am trying to teach him how to say in words and sign language, “Stop, Samuel!” but it hasn’t happened yet…For now our hearing is continuing to get damaged! Here is a silly picture of him today stuffing a huge piece of banana in his mouth:) He LOVES his “nana’s!”

Sickness, visitors and hot weather!

Well, summer is here! We were waiting and waiting for the “beautiful” June weather only to have it jump straight to 90 degrees, hot and muggy! Yuck! It was SOOOOO windy today that I was afraid if we went out, one of us would blow away!
Little Zakkai was sick for over a week with some (or a couple) nasty virus:( He had high fevers all weekend and was so quiet, which, considering how loud he is normally, was a definite sign that he didn’t feel good! He fell asleep in my arms 3 nights in a row, one night at 5:45pm! Today was the first day he seemed to be feeling more like himself, praise the Lord!! He was walking everywhere today and talking more and smiling! I gave him his own set of keys since he threw outrageous tantrums over mine, so he walked around all day with his “key”..
Samuel is still doing fantastically with his potty training~yea!!! We went to the store to pick out some “big boy” underwear and he chose….Thomas underwear! Who would’ve guessed??! He usually wears them in the mornings and does great! And a few days ago, he added Gordon to his train collection because he did the #2 on the potty. Yea, Samuel! He was so proud and has taken Gordon pretty much everywhere with him since:) He has now informed me that he wants to have Toby, Rusty and Emily. I told him, “Maybe for your birthday….” We can’t believe he’s going to be 3 in just over 4 weeks!
My sister Gretchen and her hubby Gabe came to visit our city and we got to see them yesterday and went to the zoo! We thought it would be such lovely weather and were not prepared to sweat our way through our favorite zoo with about 1400 school kids! Samuel had a good time:) We made sure to see many of our favorites like Hudson Polar, the giraffes (Arnietta the baby!!), bison, camels and monkeys! One of the monkeys had everyone clapping to a rhythm and was putting on a show!
Ben leaves for Turkey in about 5 weeks. It is coming up so fast, it is scary! He got his plane ticket itinerary the other day and they couldn’t find exact dates so now he is going to be gone 9 weeks instead of 8. (8 wasn’t long enough??!!) We are thankful that he’ll be here for Samuel’s bday (and mine, too:) so we’ll find some special way to celebrate as a family. I will keep updating through the summer and will need lots of encouragement since it will be very lonely being “husbandless.” But the boys and I are looking forward to lots of Columbus-time!!!