Happy Friday!

 We are wrapping up a long week here in rainy Chicago with some delicious homemade pizza and mini banana cream pies. Mmmm…I may be trying to cook healthier options but that doesn’t mean we don’t thoroughly enjoy our Friday night desserts!

Here’s a picture of Eliana the other day, wearing her Easter bunny ears, a gift from her Grandma:)

Last night Eliana earned yet another prize for completing her sticks (she gets prizes every 7 sticks; the boys every 10). She picked a puzzle, which Daddy helped her with!

She doesn’t get doted on or anything around here:)

Ben often dances with me in the kitchen (which the kids love to watch!), especially when he is playing music on his computer. Yesterday at lunchtime, he was playing a fun jazzy tune and did a quick dance with me. Next thing you know, Eliana hopped down from her chair where she had been happily munching on lunch and begged to dance with her Daddy. A sweet video we will cherish forever! Gosh, she’s cute:)

*Can’t figure out why blogger is not showing the top half of the video. The original video does include Ben’s head:)

Happy Friday!


Not So Spring Concert!

Remember those frosted trees I told you about the other day? Here’s a snapshot of a winter wonderland! Well, except none of us think it’s a winter wonderland anymore:) Today was warmer so a lot of snow melted. The sidewalks are a nasty messy mix of mud and huge puddles. The grass that is now showing is also muddy and beyond saturated. The parts of grass that are not exposed yet are covered in snow piles that are a few inches deep to 3-4 feet deep. It will be a LONG time before we dry out!

Eliana got herself all prettied up as a ballerina the other afternoon, with dressy shoes and all:) Amazing how she can prance around in so little clothing on such a cold day!

Last night was the boys’ spring concert! They have been SO excited all week and were practically bouncing off the walls all afternoon. The music teacher said that originally they were hoping that the snow would be gone and our days would be spring-like in time for the concert. Unfortunately, we all know it’s not-so-spring like around here yet! At least it was springy inside. This was the first grade singing. Each grade had a spring theme. First grade’s song themes were “Everything Grows.”

Z is in the left middle. Hard to see in a sea of green!

The second grade theme was “Seasons Change” and third grade was “I Must Do My Part.” The last songs were sung by the 4th and 5th grade chorus and their theme was “You Always Reap What You Sow.” The songs had great messages and all the music and words were written by the music teacher!

This is 3rd grade and Samuel is in the front row, far left.

Starting in 3rd grade, they get to learn the recorder:) We have heard a lot of squeaky notes around here all year! Those are the recorders hanging around their necks:)
Here are a few really short clips of the concert. Eliana kept bumping my arm, trying to watch what I was recording so sorry about the lack of steadiness. And the lady’s head in the way:) Only so much you can do from far away with a camera phone!
The first clip are the first graders (with Z), the second is the recorder song by the third graders and the 3rd clip are the 3rd graders singing. Cute!

It was a fun little concert. Eliana said they should do it again tonight:) Happy Friday!

Snow Fun and Videos!

We had our third highest snowfall on record for the month of January this year. We got over 30 inches of snow in one month!! Ben said he feels like all he does is shovel! Side story about our shovel: I am very proud of it! It was one of the last shovels left in the city after the blizzard of 2011. I search high and low for it and finally talked Home Depot into selling their own store’s shovel to me! It had a crack in it but I got a good deal and we have definitely gotten every last penny out of it!
So…snow. We got more this weekend. We haven’t been able to enjoy the snow too much because we’ve had these terrible cold snaps and I am not about to send my boys outside when it’s -2 or worse! Thankfully, it was 30 degrees on Saturday and in the afternoon I told the boys to go outside and get some of that energy out!! Eliana went out, too, for a bit but she gave up and went in before I whipped the camera out.
They decided to dig a tunnel…

Zakkai working on one end…

And Samuel on the other!

He’s so cute with his missing tooth! He is about to lose another one AND he is about to turn 7. I can hardly believe it. In our minds, he’s still 5….

Concentrating hard! They got stuck with some ice in the middle.

Hoping to meet in the middle eventually!

Yesterday for lunch I made bread bowls for the first time with Broccoli Cheese Soup! Aren’t they cute?  I have always wanted to make bread bowls and I found a fairly easy recipe on pinterest. I mixed up the dough before church and let it rise while we were gone. They rose a lot higher than I intended so next time I would make them a little smaller and make mini ones for the kiddos.

All in all, though, I was impressed! And it tasted good, too:)

Eliana is our little Canary Bird. She clams up and gets really soft-spoken when we are out in public but at home? She sings and sings and SINGS all day long! She sings real songs and songs she makes up. Or a combination of both!

She was so wild after church for some reason and was running around and around our house singing at the top of her lungs! Video to follow…

Ben has been working so much lately so when he is home, you can almost always find one of our little people hanging on him like this…..We all are happier when we can all be together!

Her hair is getting so long!

She pointed her bossy little finger at me and said, “YOU need to stop taking pictures!”

Silly boy!

And here’s our wild girl; for proof that she does talk even if she pretends not to in public….Please excuse the mess. Things completely fall apart on the weekends! And that’s what I am working on undoing now….(after my blogging break…)


Have a great Monday!

My Sillies

Remember that cold I mentioned I was getting? It is kicking my behind. I am chugging along doing what I need to do but I have a fever, weepy eyes, congestion and aching head. Oh, the joy…Just hoping I’m the end the of the cycle and not passing it on!

I admit, it’s very hard to stop kissing and cuddling my chickies, esp Missy Girl:(

Today, I drugged up (myself) and took Zakkai on his promised prize-date which he earned from his chart. We went to see a movie, just the two of us! It was fun being with just him. We saw “The Croods,” which was pretty cute. He loved it and during the funny parts he would always look up at me to share the moment:) Afterwards, we went to Target, where he got to pick out a dollar section toy for himself and his siblings. He picked a little screwdriver! Funny boy. He came right home, opened it up and started finding things to open up. My little mechanic!

I have a funny little video to share from a few nights ago, when Ben was gone for dinner. My funny kiddos!

Before the video, I just wanted to take a minute to explain what I meant by Ben’s “defense” the other night. I had to learn all this terminology and sometimes I forget that not everyone lives in academic world:) haha.  So Ben had to turn in a full draft of his dissertation to his NELC (Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations) office 4 weeks before defending, along with signatures from his committee on a form.

A defense is just that, a defending of the dissertation. Ben will go in a room with his academic advisor and reading committee (the professors he chose to read and edit his dissertation all along), the dean of the program and another representative. Plus, anyone else in the public who would like to attend. He half wants me to go and I half want to go. It makes me too nervous!

Anyways, he has to give a “talk” about his dissertation for about 25 minutes and then they get to ask him questions and he has to “defend” it and show that he really knows what he’s talking about. After this is over, he and everyone but the committee leaves the room and they put it to a vote. Once they decide whether he passes or not, they call him back into the room and give him their decision. Generally, they will not let someone get to this point and fail them. He would have to totally fail to show he knows his stuff and after 3-4 years of emersing himself in his topic, that would be crazy!

After that, he’ll have another week or so to do a little more editing on the dissertation and then he has to give a final copy to the Dissertation Office where it has to sit for 4 weeks before convocation. And then June 15th, if all goes well (Lord-willing!), I will sit with a bursting heart and watch my beloved graduate and become official!

It is coming soon but there’s a lot for him to accomplish in the meantime. He would definitely love your prayers and for our future, too!

For now though, we take it day by day, trusting. And being silly, upon occasion. Enjoy the video!

Dance Fest

We had a really lazy day here at home, to follow a non-stop day yesterday (at least for me!) I pulled out some CD’s I got from the library the other day of one of my very favorite children’s songwriters, Jim Gill.

They boys, who were totally convinced they were too old for this music LOVED it! We listened to it while making breakfast and cleaning and jammed in the car on the way to the store. They were begging to have me play it during dinner but we had to put our foot down somewhere!

Enjoy the Thomas Trio…

Snow, snow and MORE snow!

 What a fun bit of snow we’ve been getting! I’m hoping this is winter’s last hurrah before spring and if it is, I’m glad it’s a good one! It started snowing around 6:30 this morning and 13 1/2 hours later…it is still snowing! We probably have 8-10 inches out there so far.

The boys finished their homework as fast as they good, donned all their wintergear and headed outside to play before dinner. Samuel said, “Whoever created snowpants was really smart!” 🙂

Right before I took this picture, the boys were army crawling through the snow:)

Our maintenance guy was snowblowing the parking lot when Samuel (you can barely see him by the tall bush on the rt) and Mikey ran in the flying snow’s path. They thought it was too fun to be blasted with snow.

There was a lot of running and diving…


And, before we could stop him, a little snow-licking, too. Eliana and I have been couped up all day and we didn’t really want to go anywhere anyways:) But maybe being shut-in caused a little extra silliness at dinnertime.
Eliana loves to throw out new phrases she has picked up, even if she doesn’t really understand how to use them. One of her favorites is to tell knock-knock jokes. Tonight’s joke that she randomly threw out during dinner will be a classic!
Everyone was eating nicely (And thoroughly enjoying~I will definitely share the recipe!) when Eliana said, “Samuel, knock-knock. Who’s there! Poo-poo!” And proceeded to cause herself to giggle hysterically for quite a long time.
When that grew a little old, Daddy decided to add in a line, which caused the hilarity to start all over again. If this doesn’t make you laugh, it will at least leave you with a big smile on your face!

Clean Sweep Part 2!

 We have been busy bees over here the past few days! It’s been really refreshing to be active and busy and accomplishing things with new energy. Before I reveal our hard work, I need to share pictures, of course, of 3 of the cutest kids ever! No bias here.

There has been no let-up in the adoration of Baby Anna:) Eliana insists that Baby Anna wants to eat with her so they share almost every meal in the highchair. It’s a tight squeeze but apparently worth the spacial sacrifice! Baby Anna finally ran out of batteries today for the first time and when I opened up her head (yes, I know that sounds creepy and it was a little..), I discovered that the reason the batteries had endured constant daily use for 2 months was because they were not ordinary batteries. No, it costed $10 to buy replacements! Ouch. I found some cheaper back-ups on Amazon with a lot more for the price so I think I’ll be getting those soon.

Yea for Missy! She has FINALLY adjusted to no paci and is back to sleeping like a champ, although I probably shouldn’t say that out loud or she’ll wake up! She’s been a napping stinker for 3 weeks now and even spent over 2 hours crying in the middle of one night last week. We got firm with letting her cry 20 minutes, going in and tucking her in, giving her a kiss and walking right out and repeating. We were getting pretty desperate by the end of last week. She was moodier, tired and driving us crazy!

But finally we started to see improvements and now she is back to her great sleeping. yea!

The boys are so thrilled with all of our new clean space, thanks to our new cleaning routines, that they spent the longest time horsing around before dinner tonight. Literally.

See? You should have heard the giggling and silliness coming from these two! It was really fun to see that enjoying each other (and our clean floor:)

And last but not least, I give to you a video of 2 days of very hard work! Ben and I are genius when we put our heads together to solve a problem, if I don’t say so myself:)


Ben had no idea I was taking a video and gave me the funniest look at the end;) We all LOVE our new spaces and are all excited to keep them organized and clean!