What Summer is Made of..

 If you’ll please excuse (or put up with) the constant summer posts, I’ll thank you very much! It feels like the first “normal person” summer we’ve ever had and we are loving it!
Summer is: Popsicles, sidewalk chalk, riding bikes and playing in the rain….
endless hours outside, foot races, bike races, ice cream and movies…

 Farmer’s markets, library trips, hours at the park, t-ball…..

Sunshine, squirt guns, scooters, walks, bbq-ing, picnics, green grass, windows open, children laughing and screaming, dirty boys and nightly baths, bubbles, birthdays, relaxation, flies in the house, lawnmowers, bright flowers, squirrel’s playing tag, birds and butterflies, 4th of July, traveling, family and friends….

Summer is Good.

A Daddy’s Dream

 For as long as I have known Ben and most especially since we have had children, he has talked about his dream to teach his son, if he had one, baseball.
Let me back up for a minute to when I was pregnant with Samuel. We didn’t find out if he was a boy or girl, wanting the one-of-a-kind surprise of hearing if we had a son or daughter on the day he/she was born. A few months before Samuel arrived, Ben was struggling with some personal hurts and I had the strongest sense that God was going to give us a son to redeem both of our family lines and to give Ben the chance to be the dad he wished he had had.
A short time later, almost 6 years ago exactly (next week:) the dr held up a beautiful baby boy and said 4 words neither of us will ever forget; “You have a son!”
Ben would even struggle to put into words how it affected him that night. I know my dear MIL, who is reading this, will probably remember the look on his face when he came and told her the glad news and how his heart was so incredibly full.
And one thing that he has longed to do with his son, something that means the world to him for personal reasons, is to play baseball.

 He has been begging me to get the boys in sports and unfortunately that is not an easy thing to accomplish in the city. But this past year, he was adamant that this would be THE summer of father-son sports time:)

 We started doing some research shortly after we moved, trying to find the best program to fit our needs (a.k.a. money and time!) and came across the YMCA Little T-Ball League last week. The 8 week program had already started the previous week but the staff put us in contact with the youth sports director to see if there was still a spot for the boys.

 He called back last Wednesday late afternoon and said the Wed night group was just starting (they had been rained out the first week) and we could come. I hesitated for a few reasons, one being the practice was at 7:15 and the boys are already in bed at that point! Ben, who was on his way home from work, was ready to move heaven and earth to get those boys to the practice that night.

 The coach let the boys tryout together but Zakkai, after being hit in the face with a ball, quickly rejected the idea of playing. And that left Samuel, who has never had an easy time trying new things (This being no exception!), to play.

 They left the house shortly before 7pm in baseball caps, sweatshirts (it was cool out) and we practically had to pry Samuel off the porch to get him to go.

They came back at 8:30pm beaming. Ben’s eyes were lit up with the joy that only a fulfilled dream can bring. A Daddy’s Dream.

Ben got some used t-ball equipment and we took the boys to the nearby baseball field to practice yesterday. as Samuel (as of last night) is officially signed up for t-ball this summer! Our sweet boys, mostly Samuel as Zakkai prefers to do things his own way (strong will anyone?), are just soaking up the special time with their daddy-instructor teaching them how to play the timeless game of baseball.

It really fills my apprehensive sports-less heart with joy to see this wonderful man, who longs to be a daddy who teaches, guides and leads his children, passing on something that is so important to him and filling these little boy’s memory banks with a strong secure daddy-love.

Something to pass on to their children someday.

A Daddy’s dream. A Daddy’s love.

The Big 3-0

 I am totally having an….early mid-life crisis. Or is it an early life crisis?

No, I’m not dying my hair black or getting my nose pierced or buying a convertible. Yet. I’m not changing my personality or going off the deep end (I don’t think anyways!) but I am having a mental freak-out!

How in the world am I about to turn 30? Didn’t I just graduate from high school? Weren’t Ben and I just dating? Wasn’t I just a young starry-eyed 19 year old with no clue about paying bills and adult responsibility?

How in the world am I THIRTY (almost), married for over 8 years, with 3 kids?

I joined the YMCA tonight (so S could join t-ball….see tomorrow’s post!) and they had to take my picture. I had bad flashbacks of my driver’s license picture last year where I tried to go for a pleasant yet not-quite-smiling look and ended up looking like I’m snarling my lip (hey, none of the other hardened Chicagoans were smiling and I felt peer-pressure!) so I gave a good smile for this one.

Only I look so…..old. I’m just supposed to be a young lady still! I’m still a daughter, young and ready to take on the world, right?

So why am I feeling like the minute I turn 30 (soon…hey, I can still enjoy my last days of youth!), everything’s going to change? Like suddenly I can’t have fun anymore and have to be a “real” adult? Like suddenly my body will change and I’ll blow up and won’t have the energy to chase after my kids? Oh wait….that already happens….

My knees are starting to get stiff when I spend too long on the ground. I get elbow pains when I lift weights, my legs fall asleep more. I get headaches when I stare at the computer screen too long (not that I have much time for that!) I’m getting wrinkles, for heaven’s sakes!!

I find myself repeating phrases I heard as a child like, “In or out! You make up your mind and stay inside or outside!” ( you know you heard that one) or “What part of NO did you not hear?” (during my mean moments) or “You have to try your vegetables.” or “If you make that face, it might stay that way!” (purely joking, of course!)

I’m driving a car that I swore up and down I would NEVER EVER in a million years drive and pretty soon I’ll have a soccer decal on the back and you’ll see me swerving in an out of lanes turning around and passing out juicing boxes and/or screaming at my children in the rearview mirror.

Pretty soon I’ll be wearing coulats and white reebox or jumpers with little animals on the front.

So if you see me sometime soon and I really have done something crazy like bought a motorcycle or chopped off my hair and dyed it pink and changed my name to “Trix”…..don’t worry, I’m just having a crisis and I’m sure it will pass…..

(Don’t worry, children, Mommy’ll be alright soon…)

Lovin’ the weekend!

I have no idea where my camera is at the moment (or….at least I’m too lazy to go down and find it!) so no pics tonight, just rambling!

It’s been a nice weekend as the love affair with suburbia continues:) And before I tell you what we did, I have to say that to enjoy the weekend is such a nice change for me. For the past several years while Ben has been in school (esp the first 4-5 hard-core years), the weekend has been just an extension of the week which meant more long, lonely days just trying to figure out what to do and care for the kiddos while Ben worked really hard. And Ben is a really dedicated hard-worker which I respect so much!  But I admit that I love with all my heart that his schedule is more flexible now and that he has some more time to devote to family time. It means the world to me! And to him, too:)

Yesterday we drove to Naperville and enjoyed the farmer’s market there, which I must say was quite a bit more impressive than the local one from last Saturday! There were quite a few more varieties of things including wisconsin cheese, popcorn, honey from local bee-keepers, more varieties of fruits/veggies, baked goods, etc.

After strolling through that for a little bit we headed nearby to downtown Naperville, which we love and spent a couple of hours walking around, enjoying the nice day and having lunch! It was so easy to get there from our new place and much closer, too.

Today we tried out a new church that is close by and really liked it! We were warmly welcomed by people, the boys enjoyed their classes and Eliana didn’t yell during the quiet parts too much:) In fact, she was pretty much ooohed and aahhhed over by everyone! Which she is used to by now….

Poor baby must be teething or something though because she has been really off the past few days. Having trouble sleeping well, crying when I try to feed her baby food and waking up grumpy and irritable. I wouldn’t be surprised if those little sharp teeth poke through any moment….

In fact, I hope they do so we can get our happy go-lucky girl back!

We also enjoyed a homemade fresh peach-strawberry pie this weekend (oh so good!). I never thought to add strawberries before but there they were calling my name, all fresh and ripe and I thought, “Peach and strawberry go well together, don’t they?” I’m here to tell you that they do indeed!

We are in the middle of making traveling plans, birthday plans (a certain little boy that I know is turning SIX and we shall NOT mention how old someone else is turning….), 4th of July plans, play-date plans…..all sorts of plans!

Have I mentioned that we are enjoying summer?!

Enjoying

 This is how we roll most of the day……
We watch the boys ride around and around on their bikes/scooter having races…

Here comes Samuel….

 Then Zakkai speeds by…

And then comes….wait, who’s this kid? Oh, it’s Mikey! Mikey is at our house alllll day long:)
 Then we have a snack….Yesterday Mikey joined us:)
We made a special treat yesterday…chocolate dipped rice krispie treats!
Yup, it’s a good summer…

Power

OH man! Just when I was getting used to having the internet again…the crazy storm knocked out our cable lines! So, pretty much our whole city was down yesterday and we’re still having issues today.

So here I am at the library! The boys are sitting in front of me in the children’s area on little couches reading about tornadoes, flies and science experiments and Eliana is shrieking in her stroller. She’d probaby be totally quiet in the grocery store but the library? Definitely a place for baby shrieks!!

Be back soon!

Summer Fun and Salad

Wow, a seriously scary thunderstorm just passed before I got on here. I can still here the rumbling thunder in the distance but it was like desert storm meets hurricane meets a lightening show for awhile…

Thankfully, the power did not go out even though I was positive we were going to be sweltering in hot darkness a few times there. With my two tiny candles and Zakkai’s barking dog flashlight for company, of course:)
““““““““““
We are totally enjoying summer over here!! The boys get dirty, sweaty and don’t forget, scraped up all day long outside, get cleaned up with cool baths at night and start all over again bright and early the next morning:)
In the past two days we have registered S at his new school (you wouldn’t believe the paperwork I had to turn in! I practically had to be sworn in and prick my finger with blood to swear that we really do live here and he’s my son…), gotten our city sticker for our car ($45 cheaper than the city of Chicago! Woo!), gotten a library card (waaaay more sophisticated than the city libraries which I loathe for many reasons), got Samuel his very first library card (he is over the moon with excitement!), and checked out one of the local farmer’s markets. We dined on wonderfully fresh, aromatic, bright red strawberries today. Drooling yet?
We also got rhubarb, fresh tomatoes and a parsley plant! We can’t wait til blueberries, raspberries and peaches start coming. Homemade peach pie anyone??
(Ben doing a bible craft with the boys on Sunday:)
And for your enjoyment (I hope), I thought I’d share our newest favorite summer recipe!! I was never, ever a fan of fruit in a salad until my good friend and salad-genius, Miss D, introduced us to it. So good!
Chicken N’ Stuff Salad
Iceberg lettuce
Romaine lettuce
Green and/or red bell peppers, diced
Cucumber, diced
Carrot, diced
Any other veggies you like
Shredded cheese of your desire
Craisins or dried cherries
Pecan pieces or almond slivers
Diced grilled chicken tenderloins
Salad dressing
An appetite.
Toss and mix ingredients to your hearts desire and add dressing. (My favorite is Ranch and Ben likes Sun-dried Tomato vinaigrette). The first time I made it, I cooked chicken in a skillet with a little soy-sauce, tonight we grilled the chicen. I served it with fresh french baguette and pesto (we found this amazing pesto that words won’t describe at a farmer’s market on Sat. Our first time eating it and we are in love!).
Even the boys GOBBLED up the salad and told me I should make it again! I never in my wildest dreams thought my children would adore salad.
Or me, for that matter:)
p.s. My friend also posted about her favorite summer recipe the other day and I’m going to try it soon!