Easter and Family Pictures

 We had a different Easter Sunday this year…instead of going to church, we ended up spending a quiet Sunday, rejoicing in the Resurrection together as a family! We still dressed in our Easter finery though:)
E had a matching sweater but it was a bit too hot for sweaters! I couldn’t resist the bonnet though:)

 My mom and I tried so hard to get Miss E to look at us and smile but she wanted none of it!

 It was more like a deer in the headlights look…

 And then her beloved brother came over and coaxed a smile out of her but not in view of the camera of course! So we tried again later in the afternoon with some family pictures..

 When you are trying to coordinate 5 people (3 of whom are 5 and under..) to look at a camera (or 3!) at the same time and produce normal looking smiles…it can be challenging:) But I am happy with our pictures! I really treasure family pictures.

 Even if they aren’t perfect, they are perfectly wonderful to me!

 And then we realized we had 4 generations of women in our family together! Definitely another photo “Must.”

My sweet guys!
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The other day I was driving home with Zakkai and we were talking about something that happened years ago, before B and I were even married. Zakkai said, “Was I in your tummy then, mommy?” I said, no he wasn’t in my tummy yet because daddy and I weren’t married then. His response?
“Well, where was I?!”  How in the world do you explain that to a 4 year old?! It would be such a strange thought to a child that they didn’t even exist yet…not even a thought in our minds!  Gotta love inquisitive minds!
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Before we left for FL, Ben and Samuel were chatting about things and for some reason, they got to talking about how Ben loves me and how it’s in a special way and I am the only one he will love like that. Then Ben told Samuel that he should find someone just like me to marry when he grows up. And Samuel said, “Well, can’t I marry mommy?”
Ben told him that no he couldn’t marry me because he and I were already married and Samuel had to find someone else. Samuel said, “But I wanted to marry mommy!”
So sweet:) I will definitely be reminding him of this someday!
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And last but not least, a video of Miss Trouble with a capital T! Someone is on the move!
Yikes!
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The Loot

 Today has been a busy day…I got to have breakfast with a good friend of mine (it’s always nice to have a friend that’s over the age of 4 or 5:), had an appt this afternoon (and had to bring all 3 munchkins) and am anxiously awaiting news of the arrival of my newest niece or nephew!
Although I really ought to be asleep right now instead of wasting far too much time uploading pics and videos onto my dinosaur (code name for Computer;).
As I wait, here are more vacation pics! Aren’t you so glad??
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On Saturday, what was supposed to be our last day in FL, we all enjoyed a yummy breakfast at IHOP (my second time there ever!) and then checked out an craft bazaar. We received some disappointing news that day, hence my failed attempts at a smile. But being around my loving family, helped erase some of the sadness so we decided to enjoy one more day in FL.

 Mr. Ornery himself…

 Something the boys had been looking forward to the entire week was an Easter egg hunt! Later in the afternoon on Sat, Mugga, Papa and I took all 3 kiddos on a golf cart ride while Daddy (a.k.a. Master Egg-Hider) set up the egg hunt. The boys went wild running all around in search of the golden treasure!

 E supervised from daddy’s arms:) Take a look at that beautiful sky….haven’t seen one like that since last Monday. sigh.

 Samuel’s bucket’s filling fast!

 Spot the egg?

 “I can’t see you, Mommy…the sun….”

 Look hard and you’ll spot 2 pretty pink eggs in this pic!

It actually took me a minute to decide if this was Samuel or Zakkai counting out his loot….Boy, now I can see why I get asked 1-2 times a week if they are twins! It’s Zakkai, by the way….

The boys had so much fun finding their treasures, including the much-coveted candy. They also received some sweet cards from their Grandma (B’s mom) while we were there, with some moolah to pick out a special present! Mugga and Grandma-Great took them on a special trip to the store to pick out their toy: a transporter truck for S and a transformer car for Z:) Thank you, Grandma!

Tomorrow I’ll have some pretty pictures of our family on Easter Sunday!

Do

 Sick of my pics yet?? 🙂 I’ve got mo-re!
I haven’t been able to get my hair cut in almost a year because there are not many good places in Chicago, that I have found. Either extremely expensive, only cut specific types of hair or if you want to go to the places where you can get it cut for free from people who are learning, you have to have at least 3 hours of free time. Not me!
So, my mom and Gma helped me set up an appointment to get my hair cut! They took Eliana with them to do some shopping a few doors down while I got beautified:)
Grandma insisted I do a “sexy” sultry pose. I don’t think I’ve quite mastered it….

 I decided to keep it longer this time with some layers and angles and a “side-sweep” bang. It’s nice not to just pull my hair back everyday!

 Zakkai loved eating the eggs they worked so hard to decorate and worked very hard to peel off the many, many stickers adorning the eggs.

 We also went to get yet another ice cream cone (never too many!) one evening and stopped to listen to some music. The theme was the 50s and it was really fun! It’s fun to watch the couples go up and dance.

 Enjoying the “show”:)

 We also went to a fun place called Marion Market with lots of fresh fruits and veggies and booths selling all sorts of gadgets. We got a kick out of the hats with pony-tails on them. Think it suits my Grandpa?:)

 On Friday night we had a fun dinner at Johnny Rockets. I thoroughly enjoyed my chocolate oreo milkshake…mmm…

 My mom and stepdad!

 My wonderful Grandparents!

Us!

 Sweet Samuel

 Zany Zakkai:)

Sweet baby!
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Speaking of baby…this kiddo is changing like crazy! She “forgot” how to roll over from stomach to back and has been waking up in the night on her tummy crying so we had a practice session yesterday to re-teach her. She is now rolling around and around like a rotisserie chicken on a spit!

The only problem is that she keeps getting stuck in the crib slats (it’s those fat little legs!) which is very sad as it wakes her up and she gets so mad.

And then was last night. Shall we talk about her temper tantrum at midnight that lasted for an hour? Or how she got her legs stuck (again) at 4 am and refused to calm down and got so hysterical that B and I were walking the floor with her til 5am before she calmed down? It was such a fun night.

But then she woke up later this morning with a happy, contented little face (albeit a bit tired) and her thatch of ever-blonding hair sticking straight up and then we forgave her.

It’s pretty easy to do:)

Spanish Springs

 More Vacation Pics! On Wednesday, E’s 6 month bday, we went to Spanish Springs, a town square, to have a little family time while my grandparents went to pic up my mom and stepdad at the airport.
It was hot but sunny and relaxing! We stopped to admire some fountains…
And chew on some toys….Well, E did anyways:)

 And after a yummy lunch, we bought another ice cream cone!

 You can never have too much ice cream on vacation. It’s a rule! Samuel was very happy with his choice of Raspberry Sorbetto.

 And Zakkai was speechless (quite a feat, I can assure you!) with delight over his colorful Superman ice cream:)

 The next day, my mom helped the boys get busy decorating eggs!

 They spent some serious time decorating their eggs with stickers! And then it took quite awhile to peel the eggs for some taste-testing:)

I love how quickly the boys adapted to being in a house with a yard and the freedom to roam, play, shriek, laugh and just be little boys.

Hard to believe we were just leaving one week ago…

Day 6

 I just took the (unfortunate) time to add up vacation expenses. Let’s just say with the prices of things such as gas and food being so high (ex. Chicago’s gas? $4.55)….the vacation expenses fell somewhere between “Ouch!” and “Boooiiinnngg!” (Name that movie and you get special mention!!!) Yuck.
It was worth it. I must say, I am going through Grandma/Grandpa withdrawal:( It was so nice to spend time being refreshed, loved, and filled up after a painful season. We love you, Gma and Gpa!
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The weather got super hot right after we arrived~it was over 90 degrees and really humid for a couple of days.  We ventured down to one of the Town Squares and checked out a few shops, let the baby get admired by many people and got to see something very cool.

 One minute he was this small…. (cue Jaws music~nevermind that it’s not a shark…)

 And the next thing we knew…..Cool, right?! Of course, Note to the Man dangling food for the alligator: “Did you see the sign that says ‘Do Not Feed the Alligators?’ “

 Before we melted away in the hot sun, we decided to get some delicious ice-cream cones (the first of many:) at Haagen-Dazs!

” I’m hot, too, Mommy! Ice Cream for me??”

 “I know you’re up there somewhere in the bright sun, mommy…”

 And we followed up our busy day with some more pool-time!! This time Eliana loved the water:)

 See look, I was in Florida, too!:)

 Beautiful boy enjoying the sun!

 Samuel making one of his notorious goofy faces at me instead of smiling:) This kid has a great sense of humor!

But no matter how much I pleaded for a nice smile…this was the best I could get;)

More smiles to come!!

Days 1-5

Well. How do I choose from 111 pictures? Looks like you’ll be getting Florida pics for a good week or so! Some are so-so but some turned out really great!
So, let’s see….want to hear about our trip down? We left immediately after picking up Samuel from school and had good plans to travel almost 7 hours before stopping at a hotel for the night around 9pm. The nice neat plan was quickly altered by heavy rains and severe thunderstorms! Little did we know that we were following a nasty storm system that ended up in tornadoes everywhere!
At one point the lightening struck SO close to our van that the whole van shook. It was scary to drive in. We rolled into our hotel parking lot 9 hours later…at 11pm. We were exhausted. Zakkai asked the whole way if we were in Florida yet. Samuel didn’t want to stay at a hotel and Eliana did great…until the last 45 minutes of the trip, when she cried hard because she was so tired.
It took awhile to get everyone settled down to sleep but finally the boys gave up around 12:15am or so….

 We got ready and headed out by 7:30am for what was supposed to be another 7 hour trip into Georgia to stop and stay with some good friends of ours…..

Right. TEN hours later……after Samuel threw up all over due to carsickness and we had to stop and take care of that and getting stuck in horrible dead-stop traffic for a solid 2 hours….we rolled into GA.

 We had a really great night with our friends! Here are our kiddos with their buddies Luca and Winnie:) They have a beautiful home in a gorgeous neighborhood and it was so relaxing to spend some time with them, albeit too short.

 My friend Sarah is a very gracious, wonderful hostess! She fed us delicious food and it was so good to spend time catching up. Sunday morning we packed up the Thomas Train and departed around 8:15 for hopefully the last 7 hour stretch of our journey.

After a few wrong turns (including one where we got off at an exit to have bathroom-breaks and get Ben some coffee, realized 15 min later we had passed our exit, only to turn around and realize the exit we’d passed was the one where we had just gone to the bathroom! Go figure..), and more traffic, a hysterical baby (again…great til the last 30-40 min), 8 1/2 hours later we arrived in wonderful, beautiful, sunny Florida!!

All in all, it took 27 1/2 hours to make it there. We were exhausted!!

 The cure for travel-exhaustion? Swimming! Sun! Relaxation! Did I mention that Ben actually left his computer at home? Gasp!

 Grandma-Great (my grandma) got the boys some goggles for the pool which they loved!

 Ben took the boys over to the pool the first day in the golf cart and I followed a bit later with Miss E for her first introduction to the pool.

 I think she was still tired from the trip and overwhelmed by the experience because she started crying and didn’t want to be in the pool. So she and daddy hung out in some chairs while the boys and I played in the pool:)

 She looked awfully cute in a bathing suit!!

 And we spend a lot of time hanging out on my grandparent’s lanai, which is the greatest thing ever created! We would just sit out there and chat, read books, doze off, watch birds…it was wonderful!

My grandparents absolutely fell in love with Eliana and she soaked up every bit of attention that they gave her! She would smile so big at them anytime they talk to her:) Girl knows a good thing when she sees it!!

We finally started feeling the effects of driving wearing off until the warm sun and sweet love of Grandma-Great and Grandpa-Great:)

Stay tuned for more pics….

Back in Town

Did you think we were ever coming back??? We considered not coming back but…..:)

We traveled 19 hours in the past 2 days to get back to Chicago on a trip that went much smoother than the one down (stories to come) and arrived home safely about 4 hours ago.

In that time we:

*Unloaded the van so thoroughly that all that is left inside is a few carseats, a stroller and probably a lot of crumbs underneath the carseats:)

*Unpacked food bags/cooler and a few other things

*Sorted through mail

*Ran to the store for a few necessities. And came back home only to discover that we are out of toilet paper…oops!

*Ate a homecooked dinner that was far better than the nasty slop served to us at the Cracker Barrel last night (for which we didn’t have to pay, thanks to our complaints to the manager) but not as good as the fantastic food we feasted on in Florida, thanks to my wonderful grandparents and their culinary skills!!

*Bathed 3 travel-weary kiddos and tucked them in their respective beds

*Searched the house/van high and low looking for supposed missing library books…only to realize I hadn’t left them in Florida after all…..(a.k.a. Travel-Brain)

*Packed a school lunch

*Checked our very happily neglected emails/FB:)

*Paid a bill.

*Took a shower and got all ready for bed in our sweet/wonderful/awesome couch-bed! Yea!

*Am now preparing to catch up on an Office episode and go to Dreamland.

Great Florida Pics to come!!!